The action is reportedly part of the NFL’s $250 million pledge to racial justice following national protests in the summer of 2020. Other leagues also vowed big-money commitments, The Grio reports. The NBA Board of Governors announced a $300 million investment to address ethnic inequities, while Major League Baseball said it would appropriate $150 million to improve the racial composition of its game.
According to the NAACP’s website, the “Lift Every Voice and Sing” song was written and composed by civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson in 1900. The iconic song was a “rallying cry” during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s.
Jacksonville Jaguars star Chris Conley expressed approval for the efforts on Twitter, according to The Grio.
“The league taking the opportunity to play “Lift every voice and sing’ … is sweet. It’s a great way to honor those who started this movement years and years ago,” Conley penned.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league fumbled on the explosive Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy in 2016 and looked for redemption on multiple fronts. Kaepernick, however, never played another game in the league.
“We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter,” Goodell said last year. “Without Black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of Black players, coaches, fans and staff.”