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, a league source told The Undefeated’s Jason Reid. Individual players will be given the option to choose different names, the source said.
The league has been in talks with players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The NFL also is planning to have “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” traditionally known as the Black national anthem, performed live or played before every Week 1 game.
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 NFL Players Association. The program will continue for the entire season.
This initiative is something of a breakthrough because the league has not allowed such messaging, except for 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.
But a 17-week campaign such as the one being planned is something new for the NFL.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.