According to a new report, the Black national anthem will be a staple before NFL games in 2021, and the league plans to ratchet up its social justice messaging for the upcoming football season.
If the report by Front Office Sports is accurate, expect to see a lot more social justice messaging on playing fields and player helmets during the upcoming 2021 NFL season.
According to the report published last Wednesday, according to a source: “They’re [NFL] bringing back a lot of elements from last year.” The original references the social justice messages painted in NFL in zones and worn on player helmets in 2020.
The Black national anthem is poised to be a “prominent part of all big-league events,” according to the source.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was played before Super Bowl LV and the draft in April, Fox reported.
According to the report, the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black national anthem, is set to become “a prominent part of all big-league events.” The song will be played at all “tentpole” NFL events moving forward.
For its part, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league could afford to ignore deep concerns about racial justice because roughly 70% of players are Black.
“We, at the National Football League, believe Black lives matter,” Caddell said last year in a video. “I protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”
Some 200 million-plus TV viewers watch the game telecast each season. The NFL plans to target this audience with renewed social-justice messaging efforts, including on-field signage, decals on player helmets, as well as in-Stadium PSAs. The NFL has committed $250 million over ten years to combat systemic racism.
These efforts will begin with the first 2021 preseason game on August 5. NFL in zones will reportedly include messages such as “End Racism” and “Inspire Change.”
With the first regular-season NFL Kickoff game on September 9, between defending Super Bowl champs Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys, the Black national anthem will be performed before the game.
A source says that the NFL plans to “highlight victims of racial injustice” with a project called ‘Say Their Stories.’
In addition, the report stated that Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is still advising the NFL on its ‘Inspire Change’ initiative.
In 2020, the NFL saw its regular-season TV audience take a significant downturn, the first in three years. The NFL lost $4 billion last year.
However, there is disagreement on whether the dip in viewership had to do with the pandemics’ effect on NFL scheduling and postponements or whether the plethora of social justice messaging alienated viewers.
By contrast, the NBA saw its viewership decline and responded by removing most of its social justice messaging and signs prevalent on the courts and player jerseys in 2020. The NBA is now delivering those messages mainly off the court.