Get ready. The national anthem protests popularized by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 preseason and regular season are returning. Multiple NFL players came out in the wake of George Floyd’s death and nationwide protests saying they intend on kneeling during The Star-Spangled Banner once again, calling to light systemic racism and police brutality targeting Black people in the United States.
The subject of immense scrutiny in the past, including from President Donald Trump, the National Football League and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have sided with players this time around ahead of the 2020 season. Admitting “we were wrong” was the first step, but now, the NFL is upping the ante with another gesture of solidarity.
According to The Undefeated’s Jason Reid, ‘Lift Every Voice And Sing’ — commonly referred to as the Black national anthem — will be performed prior to every NFL game during Week 1 of the NFL season. The song will reportedly be played first before The Star-Spangled Banner.
Pending schedule changes due to the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 virus, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans kickoff the NFL season on September 10 at Arrowhead Stadium.
NFL to Play Black National Anthem Before Games
What Is The Black National Anthem?
The Black national anthem is the name given to ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,’ a poem first performed by James Weldon Johnson on February 12, 1900. Johnson was the principal at the Edwin M. Stanton School, a segregated institution in Jacksonville, Florida. The school was preparing for a visit from Booker T. Washington during a celebration of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday when Johnson penned his famous poem.
Five years after Johnson’s first reading, his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, put the poem to music, creating the iconic song still sung today.
In 1919, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) officially adopted the song and dubbed it “The Negro National Anthem,” according to an article written by Rev. Dr. Timothy James.
Lift Every Voice And Sing Lyrics
Lift ev’ry voice and sing
‘Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on ’til victory is won
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
‘Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native landAdvertisement
The NFL has reportedly discussed plans, in collaboration with the NFL Players Association, to display the names of victims of police brutality on jersey and helmet decals. The NFL already pledged $250 million over a 10-year period to produce a variety of educational programs surrounding racial injustice.
This is a fantastic show of solidity with the Black Lives Matter movement and ongoing social justice initiatives during the season openers, even if it’s going to piss off a lot of narrow-minded Americans.