NFL to Play Black National Anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” Before Week 1 Games

Every game this upcoming season will feature a rendition of "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing"

NFL Black Anthem
A U.S. flag forms the United States of America as the national anthem is played before the start of the NFC Championship game between on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

As the NFL continues to reverse course in order to take racial inequality and police brutality seriously, a new report by The Undefeated found that the league will add renditions of “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” considered the Black national anthem, to pregame festivities during week 1 of the upcoming season. The song will be played before the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and will part of a wider effort by the league to bring awareness to the larger movement that is spreading across the United States.

Players around the league have been participating in protests and activism that has sprung up following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, and the NFL is catching up. After Roger Goodell admitted in a video statement that the league had not done its best to support the cause of racial equality, the addition of Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” to the week 1 games is the next step. But it’s also not the only one, according to the Undefeated report.

The league is also considering allowing players to wear the names of victims of police brutality as decals on helmets this season, along with providing educational resources to help raise awareness. This comes after the NFL committed to dating $250 million over 10 years to help combat system racism, and also after Goodell hinted that players will be allowed to kneel in protest during the national anthem.

While these actions are definitely a step in the right direction, the NFL has a mixed history with enacting social change, particularly as it comes to race. So it will remain to be seen if the league is committed to fighting for these causes, beyond symbolic gestures.

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