Sep 5, 2021 - Sports

NFL will allow players to display social justice messages on helmets

A "Stop Hate" slogan on the back of a New York Jets player's helmet
A "Stop Hate" slogan on the back of a New York Jets player's helmet. Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images

The NFL will allow players to display choice social justice messages on their helmets and will stencil in "It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” messages in the end zones of every field, the Associated Press reported.

Why it matters: Approximately 70% of the NFL's active players are Black and the initiative is an effort by league officials to display solidarity with players protesting social justice causes like Black Lives Matter, per the New York Times.

  • The league has previously been criticized for failing to adequately support players who protested against racism and police violence.

The big picture: The NFL began stenciling the end zone messages and permitting helmet messages last year as part of its Inspire Change initiative, according to AP. The six helmet slogans players will be able to choose from include:

  • “End Racism"
  • “Stop Hate”
  • “It Takes All of Us”
  • “Black Lives Matter”
  • “Inspire Change”
  • “Say Their Stories.”

The end zone stencils will appear in all home games except in cases where other specific causes are being highlighted.

  • "For example, during a club’s Salute to Service game, 'End Racism' will be replaced with 'Salute To Service' in one end zone and 'It Takes All of Us' will remain on the opposite side," AP reported.

What they're saying: “It’s an opportunity to highlight messages that are important to the league, players and personnel and our communities,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Times.

  • George Atallah, a spokesman for the NFL Players Association, the players’ union, told the Times, “Our membership continues to not only care about these issues, but have been putting in the time and effort to effectuate change in their communities.”
Go deeper