NFL Will Allow Players to Honor Victims of Systemic Racism on Helmet Bumper | Bleacher Report

Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The NFL will allow players to honor victims of police brutality and systemic racism on the padding on the backs of their helmets for the 2020 season, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.

“It’s a fairly thick white strip, where multiple organizations currently print the names of their teams,” Florio wrote. “The names of specific persons will be easy to see when TV cameras capture close-up images of players on the field.”

Peter King of NBC Sports provided some more information in his Football Morning in America column. Players have the option to wear the name of a Black victim or one of four “preferred phrases”: “Stop hate,” It takes all of us,” “End racism” and “Black lives matter.”

Many NBA players have worn social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys after the league resumed its season in Orlando, Florida. Every WNBA jersey bears the name of Breonna Taylor, whom Louisville, Kentucky, police shot and killed in March.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill told King he plans to honor Freddie Gray on his helmet.

I wanted to go with someone who wasn’t as visible,” Tannehill said. “It’s really unclear what happened to him, but I wanted to try to bring a little attention to his life.”

Gray died from a spinal cord injury he suffered shortly after Baltimore police arrested him in 2015. His death drew attention to the practice of “rough rides,” when police don’t securely buckle a prisoner in a vehicle and intentionally drive in a manner that would put the prisoner in physical harm.

The Justice Department subsequently investigated the Baltimore City Police Department and found in 2016 that it “engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution as well as federal anti-discrimination laws.”

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