A Kinder NFL is Now Kicking Around a Way to Honor Police Brutality Victims

Gabe Zaldivar

There are two things the NFL will need to answer upon its return: How it plans to manage a COVID-19 global pandemic and how it will let its players express support for social issues, such as raising awareness for victims of police brutality.

The answer to the former looks increasingly likely to be trusting the players to do the right thing when they are away from the team both at home and on the road in hotels.

Seeing as how that’s essentially what MLB has done in its restart effort, that should be a beautiful disaster by Week 3.

As pertains to having a voice or, rather, being able to use that voice. The NFL has often been one of the more restrictive leagues in past years. This is the same place that ostracized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling after all.

According to Front Office Sports, the NFL is likely to allow its players to don the names of those who lost their lives to police brutality. This includes George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice.

The names would appear, according to the report, on helmets rather than uniforms. It’s a small gesture but could have a profound impact in a sport that once saw Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones mandate his players stand for the national anthem.

“Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line,” Jones said back in 2018.

But we are in a new world. Paradigms have shifted. Commissioner Roger Goodell offered a mea culpa back in June, stating at the time, “We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

As for decals with names on them, this is still one issue being discussed by league officials. Front Office Sports asked NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche on the probability that it gets rolled out. To which he stated, “They’re still in discussions. But this sounds like it’s going to happen.”

The NBA and WNBA have been two of the more outspoken leagues, allowing players to voice support for issues that matter to them.

NBA players have continued to champion and support the family of Breonna Taylor, a medical worker who lost her life when Louisville police officers issued a no-knock warrant on her home.

The WNBA actually works in tandem with the players to invoke a more vocal message through this pandemic season.

The collaborative initiative is dedicated to be “a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other important societal issues,” via a press release.

Front Office Sports reminds us that the NFL is one league that demands uniforms remain untouched and free from any form of individuality that would separate it from another player.

So you can probably forget the league allowing players to don social justice messages on the backs of jerseys as seen in the NBA.

But a decal on the helmets suggests the league is indeed more amenable to the plight of so many of the players that make up the NFL.