NFL allows players to sport police brutality victims' names on helmet days after chief's regret over Kaepernick
Players are now permitted to use the thick white band at the rear of the helmet — where their team name is generally displayed — to protest against police brutality
The NFL will reportedly allow its players to put the names of those killed in police-involved shootings on their helmet during games. Reports state that players are now permitted to use the thick white band at the rear side of an NFL helmet — where their team name is generally displayed — to use it for their protest against police brutality. The report comes days after NFL chief Roger Goodell said that he wished the league had "listened earlier" to former player Colin Kaepernick when he initially began protesting in 2016. The latest news on the NFL helmets was reported by Pro Football Talk, which cited a source as saying: "The names of specific persons will be easy to see when TV cameras capture close-up images of players on the field. The names will come from an approved list, with names like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery among the possibilities.”
NFL, like the National Basketball Association (NBA), will allow social justice messaging on the playing arena this season, reports state. The New Orleans Saints, last week, had taped Jacob Blake's name to their helmets during practice. Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back at least seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
NFL Commissioner Goodell, days after George Floyd's death on police custody, in June, had stated that the league was wrong to oppose Kaepernick's kneeling protest. Goodell released a video on NFL's official Twitter page on June 4, where he expressed regret for not listening to the league's players earlier who were protesting against police brutality. The NFL chief, in his statement, also encouraged the league's players to peacefully protest from now on. The NFL chief's apology came shortly after some of the league's players, including Saquon Barkley, Patrick Mahomes and Odell Beckham Jr, released a powerful video on June 4, demanding the league to release a statement condemning racism and admit to silencing players like Kaepernick from peacefully protesting.
Kaepernick hasn’t played a down since opting out of his contract in 2016, the same year the quarterback began his protest when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. The player stirred a national controversy in an effort to protest police brutality in the country when he knelt during the national anthem. Other players soon took his cue and joined the protest in the 2016 season. Kaepernick's move drew heavy criticism from President Donald Trump, who even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in it. The NFL, in 2017, announced a rule which required all the players to stand during the anthem.
Goodell, in his response to the video, stated: "Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff. I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve."
"We the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell continued. "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." The NFL chief also noted that it had been a difficult time for Americans, particularly black Americans, and offered his condolences to the families that have "endured police brutality."
The NFL season begins September 10 when the Houston Texans are set to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.