After making a commitment to social justice initiatives and messaging last season, the NFL is doubling down and going bigger in 2021.
According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, the league is making good on its 10-year, $250 million commitment towards social justice and combatting systemic racism through on-field signage, helmet decals and other avenues.
For one, the league will begin incorporating “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem, in a number of its tentpole events, not just games.
After it was performed or played before games last season, the anthem will now showcased at the Super Bowl, NFL Draft and Kickoff game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys.
Weeks 17 and 18 of the NFL season will be themed with the slogan “Inspire Change.” Similar to the league’s other themed weeks, special signage and messaging is expect to be emblazoned around the playing service promoting NFL initiatives.
Rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation will work with the league in an advisory on the “Inspire Change” program.
Additionally, the league is planning on once again allowing social justice messages on helmets this season, though a plan has reportedly yet to be finalized, according to McCarthy.
Players will also continue to be allowed to protest on the field during the national anthem if they so choose. While the league does have a policy on the books with regard to anthem etiquette, no player has officially been punished for taking a knee or protesting in another manner.