LOS ANGELES - Fans anticipating the upcoming 2020 NFL season will notice a change in the end zones consisting of bold font that spells out the messages: “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us,” for home openers, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, who tweeted the announcement from a memo that was sent out by NFL executive Anna Isaacson.
Players will also have the option to wear helmet decals that honor victims of systemic racism as the NFL attempts to amplify its stance on social justice in the wake of worldwide protests since the death of George Floyd in May. Floyd, a Black man, died during an encounter with Minneapolis police when a White officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.
“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,” tweeted Pelissero.
Players will be given a list of names to choose from to present on their attire or can “select a victim of systemic racism who is not represented on the list.”
According to Pelissero, players can choose to wear the decals for the first week of the season or for the entire duration of the season. Coaches also have the option to display the names on a hat patch.
The NFL announced earlier this month it would play “Lift Every Voice and Sing" before each game during Week 1. It will be played first when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans to kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 10.
Some NBA and collegiate teams played the song at games during Black History Month years ago, thanks to Eugene Williams. The retired Howard University professor lobbied for teams to play the song in February.
Following the anti-racism protests that first erupted in Minneapolis in May after the death of Floyd, protests for racial justice have persisted and the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, has openly expressed support for players and individuals participating in the demonstration.
“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People,” said Goodell in a post to Twitter encouraging all NFL players to “speak out and peacefully protest.”
Goodell apologized for not listening to NFL players who had previously spoken out against racial injustice in the country.
“We are listening, I am listening,” Goodell added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.