NFL to play “Black National Anthem” before games

If you plan on watching professional football this year, get ready to hear a new “national anthem.”

The Washington Examiner reports that the National Football League will now be playing what is being referred to as the black national anthem before games. 

This so-called black national anthem is “Lift Every Voice and Sing” a song by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson. According to ESPN, it will be played before the U.S. National Anthem in all Week 1 NFL games.

Making up for past mistakes?

Playing the black national anthem is one way that the league, led by commissioner Roger Goodell, will show its support of the Black Lives Matter movement that has strengthened following the death of George Floyd. This response by the NFL stands in contrast to what happened back in 2016.

It was then that former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the controversial trend of kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick did this, like the current protestors, to raise awareness about systemic racism, something that he believes to be pervasive here in America.

At the time, the NFL actually opposed kneeling during the National Anthem. For many Americans, this kneeling is disrespectful to our country and to all of the military men and women who continue to put their lives on the line for the liberties that most of us, including Kaepernick, take for granted.

A show of solidarity

Recently, however, Goodell apologized for the NFL’s handling of the Kaepernick situation, and he actually changed his and the league’s position, pledging support to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said in a recent statement. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”

Now, putting words in actions, the NFL will add the “black national anthem” to the pregame schedule, starting on September 10th with the Kansas City Chiefs versus the Houston Texans.

Looking forward

The NFL’s decision is certainly not going to sit well with many of its fans. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), in a recent tweet, asked some questions that many Americans are probably also asking.

Indeed, the NFL’s decision certainly seems to be a divisive one that will likely drive Americans apart rather than bring them together.

With the NFL’s decision to enter into the political arena, in announcing its support of Black Lives Matter, one wonders how many fans the league will lose. Will you continue watching NFL games even though the league has adopted a position with which you disagree? I won’t be.

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