Football Is Back and Players Have a Message For Fans

Football! God, did I miss football. If there is one thing I didn’t realize about myself before 2020 did its thing, it’s that we’ve taken the leagues for granted. Not once before this year did I imagine a world in which we all watch old sports games like they’re a sitcom that was canceled, and we have to settle for the reruns. Slowly sports leagues have been coming back after months of figuring out how to do so safely, and as of Thursday night, football finally made its way back to my screen. For many NFL fanatics, seeing players returning to the field brought a sense of normalcy, a concept at one point we thought to be lost. However, as the players returned on both Thursday and Sunday, they wanted to remind their fans that maybe not everything should go back to how it was before.

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My Brother! United as One! @e_reid35

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Many remember back in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick took a knee on live t.v. and in front of thousands of fans for the first time during the national anthem. The gesture served as a peaceful and silent protest on behalf of Black men and women. A community falls victim to systemic racism and is currently being murdered and abused at the hands of law enforcement. However, numerous fans did not see it this way. Kaepernick was quickly blackballed by the league, as the NFL attempted to “save face.” In turn, this sparked anger from players. Black men make up over 70% of the league. They felt that the actions of the NFL reduced their character to nothing more than a source of entertainment.

Four years later and this is still a topic of conversation throughout the United States, however many would say it was one that was brushed under the carpet when it became too uncomfortable. When the events of 2020 put the world on hold, and Black Lives Matter took to the streets stronger and louder than ever, there was nothing left to distract us from the abuse black men and women endure in our country. The United States was forced into having an uncomfortable conversation that was long overdue, one that NFL players want to remind us should never be ignored again, no matter how many distractions we have in our daily life.

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Good to be back out there! ⏰ #RunItBack

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On Thursday night, along with many players kneeling during the anthem, we watched The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans lock arms in a moment of silence to signify their unity. However, what should have been a powerful and beautiful moment, was met by boos from fans in the stadium. The players who locked arms never wavered though, making their stance clear to everyone watching. On Sunday, players doubled down on their support for BLM with prerecorded videos that involved a majority of players speaking to the NFL and their fans about why it’s important they use their platform to protect and speak out on behalf of the black community. After this message was displayed, players once again took a knee during the anthem.

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The player’s activism didn’t end once the game began though. Many players wore the names of the black men and women whose lives have been taken by law enforcement on the back of their helmets. They are not going to let you forget. You can enjoy football and be comforted by the fact that some things are coming back to us in 2020, but these players want you to remember that some of the changes that have been sparked during the pandemic might not be a bad thing. Condemn them all you want for their actions, but their stances are clear, and the conversation is still happening. They will not allow you to forget the changes that we need to make within our country.

 

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