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NFL Set to Unveil More Social Justice Initiatives During 2021 Season

About 60% of players in the NFL are Black

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FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The NFL revealed Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, that several positive COVID-19 tests were found a day earlier by one of its testing partners, and the Chicago Bears said they had nine false positives. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)
By: Alyssa Wilson

The National Football League is set to introduce more social justice messages for the 2021 season as part of its initiatives launched in 2020.  

RELATED: NFL Announces End to ‘Race-Norming’ When Examining Players  

According to Front Office Sports, the league pledged $250 million to combat systemic racism over the next ten years. This includes promoting social justice with on-field signage, decals on player helmets and PSAs that will play in the stadium.  

The league also plans to make the Black national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, a key part of league events. Victims of racial injustice will be highlighted with a project called “Say Their Stories.”  

Despite this, the 2021 season will proceed with the theme “It Takes All of Us,” and stadium messaging will focus on the theme of “Inspire Change.” The efforts will begin in the preseason that starts on August 5. NFL end zones will include messages that read “End Racism” and “Inspire Change.”  

RELATED: ‘Neglected & Rejected’: No HBCU Players Selected in 2021 NFL Draft  

Roc Nation, owned by rapper and billionaire Jay-Z, is advising the NFL’s “Inspire Change” initiative and working with it to provide high-profile performers for large-scale NFL events.  

In addition to these efforts, NFL players will be allowed to take a knee or protest on the field during the United States national anthem. While the NFL has not disciplined players for kneeling during the anthem, Black quarterback Colin Kaepernick was famously blackballed by the league after kneeling to protest racial injustice in 2016.  

RELATED: Former NFL Player Brett Favre: Fans Don’t Want Politics in Sports  

Other leagues are also stepping up their initiatives to combat systemic racism. The National Basketball Association and its players’ union launched the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition to help fight systemic racial inequality. Major League Basketball also announced a $150 million commitment to increase Black representation in baseball.  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.