Professional sports continue to play a game of social justice one-upsmanship.
The NFL has begun laying out their own plans for week 1 of the season.
For starters, they will embed two slogans into the end zones this year: “It Takes All Of Us” and “End Racism.”
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Additionally, players will be allowed to wear warmup shirts which read on the front: “Injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us,” and on the back: “End racism.”
Players will also be able to wear the names of ‘victims of social injustice’ or one of four approved phrases: “Stop Hate,” “It Takes All Of Us,” “End Racism,” or “Black Lives Matter.”
ESPN has details on the NFL's extensive social injustice content for week 1 of the season:
The NFL is planning extensive content around social injustice for Week 1 of the regular season, sources told ESPN.
Among options discussed by the league and players union, according to a source involved: Players reading personalized poems and delivering first-person vignettes based on experience with social injustice. These stories could be incorporated into game-day broadcasts.
This is in addition to recognizing victims of police brutality on the backs of helmets and playing or performing what's known as the Black national anthem, "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," before the season-opening games, as ESPN senior NFL writer Jason Reid reported in July.
In a leaguewide memo issued in July, the NFL announced the messages "It Takes All of Us" and "End Racism" will be stenciled on all end zone borders for home openers.
The messages demonstrate "how football and the NFL brings people together to work as one and use our example and our actions to help conquer racism," according to the memo obtained by Reid.
On game days, players have the option to wear the helmet decals honoring the victims of systemic racism, and the league will provide a list of names and short biographical information to help guide decision-making.
Coaches can honor victims by wearing patches on their hats if they choose.
The league and the union worked together on a Week 1 plan, including several team owners on the NFL's social justice working committee.
The one thing everyone can agree with is that racism is wrong and we all want it to go away.
The irony of these slogans being inscribed on the field is that they are true.
It does indeed take all of us to end racism.
The problem is the way professional sports leagues are going about having these conversations is wrong and devisive.
They are in fact, not conversations at all, but rather dictations.
Unless you subscribe to the idea that police are disproportionately murdering black people, and that the country is innately racist against black people, there is no room for you at the table to end racism.
You will be labled as 'part of the problem' and forbidden from sitting at that table.
Many fans have already decided they're done with the NFL and professional sports in general.
Fans are clearly fed up with the extracurricular political BS, and ratings are surly to decline.
Now there are even talks of players sitting out during the first game of the season.
All this together paints a picture that begs a very important question:
What's even the point of professional sports now?
Fans are jaded and players in the NBA and NFL are refusing to play.
Politics now dominate the sports headlines instead of the actual sports.
Maybe we should just cancel everything and be done with it.
Bleacher Report has more on the possibility of players sitting out:
The NFL's potential inclusion of social justice content at the start of the regular season comes in the wake of postponements in several sports leagues after players elected not to participate in games.
The player protests were in response to a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back on Aug. 23.
There has been speculation that NFL players could follow suit by choosing to sit out Week 1 games. NFL.com's Jim Trotter reported Friday that "a few prominent Black players" have said they want to sit out "to make their feelings felt and force change/action."
Fowler noted several NFL players and executives said "they mostly do not expect a Week 1 boycott." The Arizona Cardinals are one team that has at least considered taking that action for their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
"We have talked about a wide variety of ways to protest," Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters told Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com. "Boycotting Week 1, obviously, that is something that has been discussed. But I think as far as the next steps, I don't think we're there yet."