The Kansas City Chiefs put social justice messages on the backline of each end zone at Arrowhead Stadium for Thursday's game against the Houston Texans, the first game of the 2020 NFL season. The team put "End Racism" on one end and "It Takes All of Us" on the other. Before the game began, the Texans and Chiefs players linked arms to show unity among the players, and the players all wore shirts with messages during pre-game warm-ups.
On Thursday morning, NFL.com reported the two teams were planning a joint demonstration to show their unity on racial injustice. The NFL Players Association also sent out shirts with the messages "injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us" on the front and "end racism" on the back. The Texans also stayed inside their locker room during the national anthem, while all but one Chiefs player stood. Some boos were audible from the small crowd at the game.
Two Chiefs players, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and safety Tyrann Mathieu, were both featured in the player-led "Stronger Together" video that called on the NFL to take a strong stance on racism. "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?" Mathieu said in the video, which also called on the league to admit they were wrong in "silencing" players like Colin Kaepernick for peacefully protesting racial inequality and police brutality. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later published a video in response, admitting the league made a mistake by ignoring players' protests.
Chiefs fans booed during moment of unity
Chiefs fans started booing while the Texans and Chiefs locked arms in unity. 🤨 pic.twitter.com/Z0Ua6HlfsU— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 11, 2020
The Chiefs game is also the first NFL game played during the coronavirus pandemic and sets the stage for how the game will be played going forward. According to KansasCity.com, the Chiefs have just 22% of usual capacity in the stands, and fans are required to wear face masks when not eating or drinking. Seating assignments were also spread out and reminders to keep six feet apart are posted throughout the stadium. Some tailgating was allowed, but only with other fans with similar seating assignments.prevnext
End zone messages
A look at Kansas City's end zones for Week 1 pic.twitter.com/Tn9AAu1Aui— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 10, 2020
chiefs fans booing the moment of silence for racial equality. great stuff. football is BACK.— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 11, 2020
Wow...audible dissent and some booing from the 22% crowd in Kansas City during the moment of unity. Absurd, and embarrassing.— Fitzy (@FitzyGFY) September 11, 2020