On July 21st, the National Football League (NFL) announced that it will allow NFL teams to wear helmet decals bearing the names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police brutality during the 2020 football season.
According to Front Office Sports, the league office is working with the NFL Players Association to compile a list of names by the start of the regular season, which is set to begin on September 10th. Some of the names thought to be added to the list are George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice.
— NESN (@NESN) July 21, 2020
Four years prior, in 2016, the Dallas Cowboys wanted to display helmet decals honoring murder police officers. The team released an Arm in Arm decal that was initially unveiled at the beginning of open training camp, but was then shut down by the NFL.
— The Boys (@TheBoysApp) August 11, 2016
According to the Dallas News, the Cowboys were told by league officials that they were not allowed to wear the decal during any pre-season or regular-season games. However, they were allowed to wear the decal during training camp practices.
Executive Vice President, Stephen Jones said in a statement:
“Everyone has to be in uniform with the league and the other 31 teams. We respect their decision.”
Afterwards, the Dallas Police Department sent out a news release reacting to the news from the NFL decision. The statement, as seen below, shows that to them, the sentiment mattered more than the results:
“We appreciate the support of the Cowboys organization and its players. Their concern for the families of our fallen officers, the Dallas Police Department, and the City of Dallas is what matters most and we know that support will continue for the immediate and long term future.”
On July 30, 2016, Cowboys executives, players, and coaches walked out onto the field for the first practice arm-in-arm with Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and family members of the officers slain in a tragic incident in Dallas the month prior.
— Noah Bullard (@noah_bullard) July 31, 2016
In 2016, Micah Johnson launched a terrorist attack in Dallas targeting the city’s police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest. According to authorities, Johnson assassinated five of the police officers and wounded seven other officers.
The arm-in-arm decals that the Cowboys wanted to wear on their helmets were meant to pay tribute to those officers that were slain and to show the club’s support for the city and the officers’ family members.
— Gloria Campos (@GloriaCampos) July 31, 2016
The Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation said that it was extremely upset by the NFL’s decision. The president of the foundation, Sgt. Demetrick Pennie said in a statement:
“The NFL had an opportunity to be leaders and advocates for change in law enforcement. These are our friends and our loved ones. It hurts not to have the NFL fully support us.”
Four years later, for the start of the 2020 NFL season, the NFL has seemingly changed its policy on what decals are allowed on helmets.
According to Steve Wyche, senior correspondent for the NFL network, the tributes could range from African American victims of racism to police officers slain in the line of duty.
Wyche said that the decision to wear or not wear helmet decals will be up to the individual NFL players:
“You might have one team with 15 different decals.”
He said that the teams and the NFL are still in discussions, but it sounds like it’s going to happen. For the NFL, this policy change is significant, as the NFL has a reputation as the most traditional sports league. The goal, for decades, has been to create and maintain a standardized look for all 32 teams.
Throughout the years, on very rare occasions, the NFL has allowed helmet decals or patches to salute former plays or owners who have passed away, as well as branches of the U.S. Armed Forces during the annual “Salute to Service” during the month of November.
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Here is another article from Law Enforcement Today about the NFL and honoring falling officers:
This editorial is brought to you by Kyle S. Reyes, the National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today… with some support from our law enforcement writers.
Dear NFL (National Felons League),
It’s been great.
We’ve seen some unbelievable performances over the years, from the immaculate reception, to Dwight Clark’s amazing catch, and let’s not forget about the “tuck rule” game, when the legend of Tom Brady was born. But it’s time for us to break up.
You are no longer the game that I grew up with and learned to love, spending all of our Sundays together. Later on, we added Mondays and Thursdays to our relationship. But like all good things, this too must come to an end.
It didn’t have to be this way. But we could see the cracks in this relationship starting to develop back in 2016. You remember that, don’t you? We do.
You see, in July of 2016, five of our brothers were killed in Dallas. You remember that, don’t you?
Five Dallas police officers were shot during of all things a Black Lives Matter protest, where the Dallas police were sent to help provide security for the event. Unfortunately, there was an uninvited guest at that protest, an anti-police sniper who massacred those five officers in cold blood.
…he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”https://t.co/1X3WnpFET7
— Mike Lee; Biden: Nurses breathed in my nostrils. (@MikeLee762) June 26, 2020
The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones along with his players walked onto the field when training camp opened on July 30, 2016 by walking onto the field with Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and the relatives of those five police officers.
During the pre-season, the Cowboys wore “Arm in Arm” helmet decals, worn by the players to show a “display of unity” with the Dallas Police Department following the July 7 carnage.
All the Dallas Cowboys organization asked for was to be able to wear the decal on their helmets for pre-season games.
However the NFL blocked the tribute. We probably should have taken that as a sign of things to come, but we didn’t.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) August 11, 2016
“The NFL had an opportunity to be leaders and advocates for change in law enforcement,” said Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, president of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation to TMZ Sports at the time. “These are our friends and our loved ones…it hurts to not have the NFL fully support us.”
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who was instrumental in organizing the tribute said at the time:
“I understand the NFL has uniform rules and guidelines that they’ve got to follow. But that still doesn’t mean we’re not going to support and honor our community and stand arm-in-arm with them—now and in the future. It still doesn’t stop us from supporting them.”
This was only four years ago.
Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin, who must have been a prophet, said at the time that the decision was “embarrassing” and “disgraceful.”
“Let me tell you why the NFL won’t do this. Anybody have a guess? I have a big guess: Because they don’t want any trouble from the leftists. From the Black Lives Matter crowd,” Levin said on his radio show.
“And the NFL top brass, like the NBA top brass, like baseball top brass, all liberal Democrats. [Every] damn one of them pretty much.”
Now follow along here, NFL. A columnist for the Dallas Morning News, Tim Cowlishaw supported your call, saying that there are ways to pay tribute to officers without opening “this political door.”
“It’s an unpopular opinion (not my first) but I think the NFL made the right call,” Cowlishaw said in a column. “There’s a way to honor these men without a decal on the helmet. If you allow that, do you allow decals saying Black Lives Matter? [emphasis added] Pro Life? Pro Choice? Repeal Obamacare? John 3:16? Where does it end?”
Cowlishaw finished with, “I understand the NFL’s reluctance to open this door. [emphasis added]
Where does it end? It looks like we are finding out.
Of course, NFL you had already shown cracks in your stance on political statements in NFL games. Remember the St. Louis Rams in 2014 doing their “hands up, don’t shoot” schtick? We do.
Do you remember the halftime show at Super Bowl 50 with Beyonce’s anti-police “tribute?” We do.
Remember that time when Beyonce almost fell on stage on SB 50 Halftime show? pic.twitter.com/odORMOjFsi
— VIKTOREPO™ (@viktorepo) February 4, 2019
The hypocrisy was noted back then by conservative media, with Dylan Gwinn, a sports-talk radio host saying, “That’s the platform the NFL gives to anti-police activists. What do police officers get from the NFL? Not even a sticker in a preseason game.”
In August 2016, a washed-up quarterback named Colin Kaepernick attempted to regain some relevance by kneeling during the National Anthem during a home preseason game. Kaepernick, when questioned about his message said:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
“Getting away with murder.” Who was he referring to? Police officers.
As the kneeling continued with other players joining in, your commissioner Roger Goodell said:
“I don’t necessarily agree with what he’s doing.”
Kaepernick, as you remember had a terrible season that year and the bloom was off the rose, as it was discovered he simply was not that talented. Nobody wanted to touch him because he honestly wasn’t worth it.
Two years ago, the owners took a stand and said that players were no longer allowed to kneel during the anthem and any who did would be fined. That was a good step.
Your commissioner then facilitated a workout with all NFL teams invited to attend to look at a Kaepernick, however since he had not played in three years, and this turned out to be basically a publicity stunt for him to maintain relevance, he remained unsigned.
So, with all of this, it was becoming clear that you, the NFL support the narrative that police across the country are involved in systemic racism. Still, we were never able to forget that a small gesture attempted by the Dallas Cowboys to honor five assassinated police officers in their community was not allowed due to “precedent.”
Imagine our surprise then when it was announced that you plan to play something called the “Black national anthem” before games on Week 1 of the NFL season. We thought the NFL didn’t like to use the game to “make political statements?”
So the NFL will play the black national anthem prior to Week 1 games? What happened to one nation? One people? A UNITED states bound by our love of country and not divided into race?
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) July 3, 2020
Backfire: NFL Decides It Will Play ‘Black National Anthem’ Before Games, However, Black Conservatives Have Something To Say About It https://t.co/XE93g3GP3W
— Judyz_world (@3xaGranny) July 3, 2020
Stickers honoring dead police officers were not allowed. But the playing of an alternative national anthem is? Oh, and yes NFL, it gets much, much worse.
I also read that players will be allowed to “recognized victims of systemic racism throughout the season.” By “systemic racism,” I know this is code for people killed by police officers, whether justified or not.
Names will be allowed on helmet decals [emphasis added], jersey patches, as well as programs such as educational programs and storytelling (to include PSA’s about “victims” and their families).
The anthem, called “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was ironically performed at a segregated school in Jacksonville, Florida, where the song’s author, initially written as a poem, served as principal—as part of a celebration of former President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday [emphasis added]—yes, the same Abraham Lincoln whose statues and monuments that Black Lives Matter is systematically trying to remove and/or destroy.
You have got to love the irony in that.
Who's going to tell BLM & .@nfl that "Lift Ev'ry Voice" was written to commemorate the white man who freed the slaves? Presented in song by 500 black children on Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1900; became known as the "Black National Anthem" in honor of Abe. God bless USA. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/HQnCroEiQU
— Montgomery Granger (@mjgranger1) July 3, 2020
NFL, there is only one national anthem—The Star-Spangled Banner. There is no Hispanic national anthem. There is no native American national anthem. And no, there is no black national anthem.
Yet, you are going to cower to the mob and literally flip the virtual middle finger to a large part of your audience by playing to Black Lives Matter, an organization run by Marxists who arguably have the goal of overthrowing the form of government—capitalism—that allows you to make the gazillions of dollars that you do every year.
Where do we go with all of this? How do we not recognize the hypocrisy and the racism at the core of this ludicrous attempt to call out racism?
The “Black National Anthem”? If someone suggested a song called The White National Anthem… they’d be labeled extremists and supremacists – and arguably rightly so. So how is creating this divide acceptable? What’s next – should we push for separate water fountains? Sections on buses?
Does that question make you uncomfortable? Good – it should. And when you process the hypocrisy of what’s happening right now…you should be VERY uncomfortable. Because this isn’t ok.
Senator Ted Cruz has it right. This is asinine. We are ONE America. At least that’s what we SHOULD be.
How many national anthems do we have??
Is there an Hispanic national anthem?
An Asian-American national anthem?
This is asinine. We are ONE America. E Pluribus Unum. https://t.co/nv0djWREnH
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 3, 2020
So, NFL, it’s been a wonderful ride. But with that said, you have shown where you stand on America and the large percentage of fans who love[d] your game. I have officially watched my last NFL game, unless you rethink your priorities and fly straight.
I won’t hold my breath. The inmates (both literally and figuratively) are definitely running the asylum. And your commissioner, Roger Goodell will cement his legacy as the man who brought down the National Football League.
Meanwhile NFL, it’s been real… it’s been good… but it hasn’t been real good in a long time.
Kyle S. Reyes
National Spokesman, Law Enforcement Today
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