The NFL announced Monday that the end zones on every field during Week 1 games and home openers will be painted with “social justice” messages in an effort to further the league’s “Inspire Change” campaign.
What are the details?
In a memo sent to teams on Monday, the NFL laid out a series of “social justices initiatives for Week 1,” explaining that “with the on-field signage, end zone borders will feature stencils with ‘It Takes All of Us’ and ‘End Racism’ on opposite ends of the field.”
“As we continue to amplify and elevate the NFL’s ongoing and long-term commitment to social justice, we will be incorporating several prominent elements on the field, into broadcasts and across league and club platforms to being the NFL season and beyond,” the memo said.
The announcement also reiterated the league’s earlier decisions to allow players to emblazon their helmets with decals in honor of victims of police brutality, and to play the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — referred to by some as the “black national anthem” — at the start of every game.
The Washington Post reported that “the NFL follows the NBA, whose courts in the Orlando bubble have ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on the floor. Major League Baseball players can wear a ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘United for Change’ patch on their sleeves.”
The NFL also reported that “among other initiatives, the league will introduce the ‘It Takes All of Us’ campaign in which ‘authentic imagery of our nation’s journey in 2020’ will recognize front-line healthcare workers, the social justice movement and NFL players journey’s (sic) to the season opener.”
The league has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis in late May. After previously pushing back against players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at games after former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the practice in 2016, this year, the NFL decided to promote such protests by players.
Also on Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that “the league’s preseason games have been canceled due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” WTTG-TV reported.
In an open letter to fans, Goodell wrote, “While this year will forever be defined by a heartbreaking global pandemic and a transformative social justice movement, I am reminded of the tenacious, resilient spirit of our country, the NFL community, and you, the greatest fans in the world. Thank you for your continued support.”