The Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks decided to do something special to honor the Black Lives Matter movement. During the opening kickoff of the season opener on Sunday, all 22 players on the field took a knee to protest social injustice. Seahawks' Jason Meyers kicked the ball, but the Falcons neglected to return the kick. Instead, all Seahawks and Falcons players took a knee.
The idea of both teams coming together to protest came from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. "We had initial discussions as a team about what we wanted to do in terms of making our voices heard heading into the first game," Ryan said to reporters after the game, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Russ [Russell Wilson] reached out to me I guess about a week and a half before the game and we got in touch the weekend before the game just to get a temperature for what each team was feeling and to kind of let everybody’s voices be heard."
During the Kickoff in Atlanta, players on both teams exercised their right to bring attention to social injustices that have persisted in the Black community for many years. We stand by the players in the quest for equality. pic.twitter.com/ZRrUmTI3uc— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2020
Ryan and Wilson weren't on the field for the opening kickoff, but he was happy with the outcome. "I felt good about that," he said. "We were excited to try and voice our want for change and to make a difference. It was a good collaboration and I appreciate the candor and discussions that we had back and forth with the Seahawks. I think their team is doing a great job in their community as well."
For Wilson's part, he showed his support by having Breonna Taylor's name on the back of his helmet. Taylor was shot by officers in Louisville, Kentucky while at home sleeping back in March. "When I think about my daughter, I get fearful because a young girl like Breonna having her life taken away is pretty difficult," Wilson said to reporters after the Seahawks' win against the Falcons. "I think also for me I think about everything going on in the world, all of our faces may be different but for me personally I pray that we can come together and love people better."