With the start of a new football season, the NFL is taking measures to ensure that their fight for social justice continues. According to the New York Times, the football organization will play “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” aka the Black national anthem amid all pre-game ceremonies.
The NFL declared its support for Black lives by playing the Black national anthem during certain NFL events in the wake of George Floyd’s untimely death. Additionally, the football league stood in solidarity with the Black community, pledging $1 billion to Black businesses alongside Alicia Keys, who sang the anthem on Thursday (Sept. 9) at the season’s opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I am personally committed to creating meaningful conversations to hold corporations and institutions accountable for their contributions to racial justice,” Keys wrote at the time.
Nearly a year later, the NFL announced that the Black national anthem will be played before every single game. The decision, however, has been criticized by some, including journalist Megyn Kelly.
“I don’t think that the average American – Black or white – wants to hear the Black national anthem before they hear the national anthem…and it’s no offense against people of color, we’re one country,” she said during an episode of her SiriusXM podcast. “We don’t need separate anthems.”
“It’s a chance to come together,” she continued. “Celebrate America… and then play a sports game. And not to shove politics or divisive cultural issues down the throats of the viewers who are looking for a getaway.”
Aside from the Black national anthem, the league will continue its practice of allowing players to place a sticker with a social justice-related phrase or message on their helmet. Much like last year, end zones will display “End Racism” and other slogans that denounce racial injustice and police brutality.