Social Justice Is Coming to NFL Helmets

League will allow decals to be placed on helmets for the full season
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2020 1:23 PM CDT
NFL: Players Can Honor Racism Victims on Helmets
This 2012 file photo shows a Buffalo Bills helmet displaying a WWFD (West Webster Fire Department) decal in memory of two fallen West Webster, N.Y., firefighters and a SHES decal in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.   (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert, File)

(Newser) – The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence. The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The initiative will be done leaguewide, with each team deciding who it will honor and how to display the names or initials. Unlike the NBA, which is allowing players to wear slogans on their jerseys, the NFL will stick to names and initials once a final agreement has been reached with the players' association. The program will continue for the entire 17-week season, reports the AP.

This initiative is something of a breakthrough because the league has only allowed such messaging in a limited capacity: during its October NFL Crucial Catch program in conjunction with the fight against breast cancer, and in its November salutes to the military. Players also have been allowed to represent a cause on their cleats one weekend per season. A list of names and initials for use on the helmet decals is being put together by the league and the NFLPA. Players have been encouraged to provide those names and initials. On the sports/racial justice front, NBC News notes that San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, a couple of coaches, and several players took a knee during the national anthem prior to their first exhibition game Monday night.

(Read more NFL stories.)

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