Chiefs, Texans Show Unity on Thursday Night
The 2020 NFL regular season kicked off on Thursday night, and social activism was at the forefront of the television broadcast.
Fans were tuned in to see how both teams and the league would handle the fight for social justice.
The Kansas City Chiefs remained on the field for the playing of the National Anthem, and all but one member of the team remained standing. The Houston Texans were in their locker room for the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” as well as the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
The NFL is going to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before the start of each game in Week 1. That song is considered by many to be the national anthem for African Americans in the United States.
Players from each team met to decide the plans for each of the two songs, and the coaches and ownership allowed them to make the ultimate decision. Plenty of focus during the pregame was spent discussing the social justice topic, and the NFL played a video montage before each of the two songs.
Before the start of the game, both the Chiefs and Texans met at midfield and locked arms in a showing of unity. Seven different phrases were displayed on the video board, including the phrase “End Racism.”
Some boos could be heard throughout Arrowhead Stadium during the pregame festivities, although it was not clear what the fans were booing. Texans coach Bill O’Brien believed that fans were simply booing his visiting team.
Kansas City allowed 22 percent of normal stadium capacity to attend the season opener, which amounted to around 16,000 fans. These fans were scattered throughout the stadium, and health and safety protocols were in place.
The Chiefs were also celebrating their Super Bowl LIV title, but the ongoing pandemic forced the team to change its celebration plans a bit. An oversized replica of the Lombardi Trophy was on the field before the game, and the team did unveil their championship banner prior to the game.
Dolphins Will Skip Both Anthems
Most NFL teams have kept their pregame plans quiet up to this point, but that isn’t the case for the Miami Dolphins. The team issued a statement on Thursday that they will be staying in the locker room for the playing of both songs for the entirety of the 2020 regular season.
Several members of the Miami Dolphins team appeared in a video on Thursday posted on social media. There were 18 players that spoke out in the video, and they were both black and white players.
In the video, the players call out the NFL for “empty gestures” and maintain that they are committed to seeing real change happen this season. The team is committed to participating in the fight to end racism, and they feel that staying in the locker room for each song promotes unity.
Other NFL teams are likely going to take the same approach as the Dolphins, but Miami has made its intentions clear.
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