NFL Reportedly Planning to Play Black National Anthem Before All Week 1 Games

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs' Sammy Watkins (14), Damien Williams (26), Patrick Mahomes (15), Anthony Sherman (42) and Eric Fisher (72) stand during the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The NFL is considering playing "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing" before the national anthem for its slate of games in Week 1, according to The Undefeated's Jason Reid

The song is known as the Black national anthem. Per Reid, the song would be played before "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Pianist West Byrd and saxophonist Mike Phillips played a portion of "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing" during their rendition of the national anthem ahead of NASCAR's Pocono 350 last Sunday:

"Black communities across the globe continue to be vulnerable in very unique and unsettling ways," UCLA professor Shana Redmond told NPR in 2018. "To sing this song is to revive that past — but also to recognize, as the lyrics of the song reveal, that there is a hopeful future that might come of it."

Reid reported the NFL is considering another way to call attention to the ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The league is working with the NFL Players Association on a plan that would "[list] the names of victims on uniforms through decals on helmets or patches on jerseys."

The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported the NBA is doing something similar for its restart. Players will be permitted to wear messages referencing social justice-minded causes.

In a video statement posted on June 5, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was wrong for failing to properly support and understand players who were advocating for social causes in recent seasons. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick hasn't played since the 2016 season, when he began kneeling during the anthem as a to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

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The NFL subsequently announced on June 11 it was pledging $250 million over 10 years to "combat systemic racism and support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African-Americans."