NFL announces the playing of Black national anthem before upcoming games

The National Football League will play the Black national anthem before the Star-Spangled Banner before every game in the first week of the 2021 season.

The league hopes its efforts demonstrate “a genuine commitment to the public, players, and coaches and that player voices continue to be heard,” according to ESPN. “This is key to educating fans, and becoming a prominent voice in the fight to end racism.”

“Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” commonly known as the Black national anthem, will be accompanied by the names of victims of police brutality displayed on players’ helmets.

The NFL under commissioner Roger Goodell has famously taken up the cause of social and racial justice. Last month, Goodell announced the league was wrong in how it approached NFL players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

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“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said in a video posted to Twitter. 

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter,” he added.  

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“Without black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff,” Goodell said.

In June, the league announced plans to increase donations to social justice movements to $250 million over a 10-year period.

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In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness of racial injustices. Setting off a domino effect, high-profile athletes from various sports began to kneel along with other forms of protests supporting Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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