NFL fans have long been one of the most vocal fanbases when it comes to leaving political and societal issues at the door, and the 2020 season kickoff on Thursday night was no exception.
This is true in the NFL more than it is in any other American sport as well, for reasons that can’t be specifically pinpointed…at least not without making broad, sweeping assumptions about people, which is precisely the sort of thing that these player protests are hoping to put an end to.
So, as the league began its strange, COVID-crashed 2020 season, fans were less than thrilled with the extracurricular messages that accompanied the first game of the year.
The Houston Texans could not decide, as a team, how to handle the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner and the “Black National Anthem.” Therefore, they decided as a team to remain in the locker room. The Chiefs, however, elected to stay and stood arm-in-arm during the playing of both songs.
The NFL highlighted social justice themes throughout the NBC pregame show. A show which featured several social justice themed songs by Alicia Keyes.
After the playing of the national anthem and Lift Every Voice and Sing (the black national anthem), the players joined in the center of the field for a “Moment of Unity.”
It was during this moment that boos began to fill the stadium.
My hometown's got no love for unity? They're booing unity now?pic.twitter.com/fAN92iqHJv
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) September 11, 2020
y’all musta been in the right section because america heard nothing but booing lol https://t.co/WnXU4MGevL
— Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) September 11, 2020
The crossroads of sports and social justice has been traveled incessantly over the course of the last few years, with strong reactions being the only constant in the kerfuffle.
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