NFL Plans to Include Social Justice Messages in End Zone Borders for Week 1

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2020

The NFL logo NFL is on the goal post at Heinz Field before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills, Dec. 15, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The NFL will continue the fight against systemic racism during Week 1 of the 2020 season with a number of measures, including the messages "It Takes All of Us" and "End Racism" stenciled in the end zone borders.

Jason Reid of ESPN's The Undefeated reported the news, noting the league sent a memo to teams on Monday informing them of its plans.

The memo said the idea behind the end zone messages is to show "how football and the NFL brings people together to work as one and use our example and our actions to help conquer racism."

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network shared examples of helmet decals honoring George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Botham Jean, among others, and signage in end zones that teams and players will use as well:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL informed clubs today of plans to amplify its social justice initiatives, including helmet decals and signage in end zones for kickoff games and club home openers. https://t.co/p4lt27tmEY

"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. "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."

This comes after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell replied to a message from some of the league's biggest stars in June and said the league condemned racism and was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier" and encouraged them to "speak out and peacefully protest."

Michael Thomas, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley were among those who asked the NFL to take a stronger stance against systemic racism and police brutality after the killing of Floyd:

Michael Thomas @Cantguardmike

“A message on behalf of the nfl” https://t.co/iilDpnZfyV


We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. 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. #InspireChange https://t.co/ENWQP8A0sv

Reid noted the NFL also plans on playing a recorded performance of "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing," which is traditionally known as the Black national anthem, before games.

The NFL will also honor essential workers who have helped fight the COVID-19 pandemic with messaging.

Week 1 is scheduled to start Thursday, Sept. 10 with a showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.