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Report: NFL Plans To Play Black National Anthem Prior To Kickoff Of Opening Week Games

Ford Field and the Detroit Lions display a large United States Flag on the field during the National Anthem to honor Veterans following Veterans Day ceremonies during the Detroit Lions versus Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday November 17, 2019 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NFL plans to play the Black national anthem during pregame festivities of Week 1 football games, according to The Undefeated.

“Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” which is traditionally known as the Black national anthem, is reportedly set to be performed live or played prior to kickoff of every NFL game during the opening week of the 2020 season.

The league is also “considering a variety of other measures during the upcoming season to recognize victims of police brutality, a source familiar with the league’s discussions told The Undefeated” on Thursday, July 2.

According to The Undefeated’s report, “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” will be played prior to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

NFL & Social Justice Efforts

The NFL recently announced that it would be donating $250 million over the next 10 years to “combat systemic racism and support the battle against injustices faced by African Americans.”

The NFL pledged a quarter of a billion dollars towards the fight against racial justice on Thursday, June 11.

“There was just a real desire to put another stake in the ground and say, we’re not done here yet. There is so much more work to do and this is not a short term problem we can fix in the next couple of years,” a person familiar with the league’s program told NFL.com‘s Judy Battista. “What are we doing to make sure we see change over that period of time. It is real action being taken here. It is not just dollars.”

The league’s pledged donation arrived after weeks of nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. On May 25, Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

On June 5, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released an apology video admitting the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first spoke out against racial injustice and police brutality in 2016. Kaepernick began to protest those issues by kneeling during the national anthem before the start of NFL games.

Kaepernick last played in an NFL game on January 1, 2017.

 

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According to the person familiar with the league’s program, the NFL “would be willing to work with Kaepernick on social justice initiatives.”

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the work Colin and other players have led off,” the person told NFL.com. “That is a key point here. We listened to our players. We needed to listen more, we needed to move faster. We heard them and launched a social justice platform because of what Colin was protesting about. The players have always been an essential piece of this effort and this campaign. It would be awesome to engage Colin on some of the work we are doing. He’s doing real impactful work. Getting him in some way would be amazing for us. There’s a lot of work to do to get to that point. We’re certainly open and willing to do that.”

In its first seasons of an agreement with the Players Coalition, “the NFL has already donated $44 million to fund social justice work” sources told The Undefeated.

The 2020 NFL season is currently scheduled to kick-off when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans on Thursday, September 10.

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