NFL players plan to kneel during the national anthem once the 2020-2021 season begins, but that's not the only thing they will be doing to support the Black Lives Matter movement. According to multiple reports, the league will allow players to honor one name or several names of victims of systemic racism and police violence. The names will be placed on the back on the helmets, and all 32 teams will feature the decals.
"Each player will have the option to honor an individual by displaying that person's name via a decal on the back of their helmet," the memo said, which was obtained by ESPN. "Players will be offered a list of names and short biographical information to help guide their decision-making, however, they can also select a victim of systemic racism who is not represented on this list." The coaches can also honor the victims by wearing patches on their hats.
When it comes to the NFL, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement began when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem back in 2016. Kaepernick took a lot of heat for his move, but he also gained a ton of support from the Black community. And when the death of George Floyd happened in May of this year, the Black Lives Matter movement reached new heights, which led to NFL players calling out the league for its lack of support.
"How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" Tyrann Mathieu said in the video that featured a dozen NFL stars. The players then asked "What it will take for one of us to be murder by police brutality? What if I was George Floyd?" The group went on to announce the names of the black men and women who have been killed due to police brutality, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.
In response to the players' video, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league was wrong in its approach to handling protests and racism. "We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People," the NFL said in a caption alongside Goodell's video. "We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter."