Is the NFL Playing the Black National Anthem?

In a time when the country is reckoning with systemic racism, the NFL is faced with a question: should they play the Black National Anthem before games?

The NFL’s History with the National Anthem

The NFL has had a long and complicated relationship with the national anthem. For many years, the league discouraged players from protesting during the song, but that changed in 2016 when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick’s protest sparked a nationwide conversation about race and patriotism, one that continues to this day.

In 2018, the NFL implemented a new policy requiring all players to stand during the anthem, but giving them the option to stay in the locker room if they wished to protest. The policy was met with criticism from both players and fans, and it was eventually rescinded.

Now, in light of recent events surrounding racial injustice, the NFL is once again facing questions about how it will handle the national anthem. Some have called on the league to play the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” before games, as a way to show solidarity with protesters and those fighting for social justice. It remains to be seen if the NFL will make any changes to its anthem policy, but it is clear that the issue is once again at the forefront of public discussion.

The NFL’s Current Stance on the National Anthem

The NFL has not yet made an official statement on whether or not they will be playing the Black National Anthem, however they have released a statement saying that they “support players’ and their right to peacefully protest.”

This issue came to light after San Francisco 49ers player Eric Reid kneeled during the national anthem before a game, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. When asked about it afterwards, Reid said that he planned to continue kneeling during the anthem until he saw “meaningful change” in the country.

Other players have also shown their support for Reid, including Seattle Seahawks player Doug Baldwin, who tweeted that he was “proud” of Reid for taking a stand.

It remains to be seen what the NFL’s official stance on the national anthem will be, but it is clear that they support their players’ right to peaceful protest.

The Black National Anthem

The Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, will reportedly be played before Week 1 NFL games, in addition to “The Star-Spangled Banner”. This is part of the NFL’s response to the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

The decision to play the Black National Anthem was made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who issued a statement saying, “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.”

Goodell also announced that the league will be donating $250 million to social justice causes.

The NFL’s History with the Black National Anthem

The NFL has a long and complicated history with the black national anthem. The league was founded in 1920, just two years after the song was first published. At the time, the league was almost exclusively white; it wasn’t until 1946 that the league began to integrate.

Since then, the NFL has been slow to embrace the song. Although a version of the black national anthem was played at select games during the 2016 season, it wasn’t until this year that the league began to seriously consider making it a part of its regular game-day repertoire.

The NFL’s decision to begin playing the black national anthem comes at a time when America is grappling with its racial history like never before. In the past year, there have been mass protests calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. These protests have put pressure on corporations and institutions – like the NFL – to do more to support black communities.

For many, playing the black national anthem at NFL games would be a welcome and overdue show of support. But others worry that this gesture could be tokenistic or performative – especially if the league does not make any other substantive changes to support black players and fans.

Only time will tell if playing the black national anthem at NFL games will be a lasting change or simply a momentary show of solidarity. Either way, it’s clear that this decision is just one small step in what will likely be a long journey towards racial justice in America.

The NFL’s Current Stance on the Black National Anthem

In the wake of recent protests against racial injustice and police brutality, some have called for the NFL to start playing the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before games. However, the league has not made any official announcements regarding this potential change. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the league is “working with our players” on ways to “take collective action to fight for racial equality,” but has not specifically mentioned the black national anthem.

The NFL has a history of supporting protests against racial injustice. In 2016, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Although he initially faced criticism from some quarters, other players soon joined his protest, and the NFL eventually released a statement saying that it “encourages all players to stand” for the anthem.

Given the league’s history of support for player protests, it seems likely that they would be open to playing the black national anthem before games. However, no official decisions have been made at this time.

The Controversy

The National Football League (NFL) is facing criticism for its decision to play the black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” before games during the upcoming 2020 season. The league said the decision was made “in light of recent events around our country,” but did not elaborate on what those events were.

Critics say the NFL is pandering to its black players and fans, and that playing the anthem is a form of tokenism. They argue that the league should be focused on addressing racism within its ranks, rather than paying lip service to the issue.

Others have praised the NFL for its decision, saying it is a small but important step in acknowledging the injustices faced by black people in America. They argue that the anthem should be seen as a unifying force, rather than a divisive one.

The NFL has not announced when or how often the anthem will be played during the 2020 season.

The Pros and Cons of Playing the Black National Anthem

The Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” was written in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. The song was first performed in Jacksonville, Florida, in February 1900 by a 500-voice choir at a celebration of Lincoln’s birthday. It quickly became popular within the black community and was adopted as the official anthem of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1919.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the song, particularly in light of the social unrest following the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers. In 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest racial inequality and police brutality, sparking a national conversation about race. In September 2017, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was played before an NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens, marking the first time it had been played at an NFL game.

The decision to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before NFL games has been met with both support and criticism. Some argue that it is a powerful way to recognize the contributions of black Americans and to show solidarity with those who are fighting for social justice. Others worry that it could be seen as disrespectful to the flag and to those who have served in the military.

What do you think? Should “Lift Every Voice and Sing” be played before NFL games?

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