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Baltimore Ravens players stand for black national anthem — then take a knee when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is played

Many Baltimore Ravens players stood during the playing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” known as the black national anthem, before Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns — then took a knee when the U.S. national anthem was played, according to Outkick.

The NFL is playing the black national anthem before all of its opening week games as a part of its anti-racism initiatives, which include social justice messaging in the end zones and around the stadiums, as well as pregame presentations.

Playing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” has caused some division among players on different teams, however, as they try to decide whether to stand for both anthems, kneel for both, or remain off the field until the anthems are completed.

The Miami Dolphins announced Thursday that they would be staying in the locker room for both anthems, because they didn’t want to participate in the NFL’s “fluff and empty gestures.”

The Houston Texans did the same before their Thursday night game, with Texans safety Michael Thomas saying they made the decision because they didn’t want to be divisive by protesting one anthem and not the other.

“And today, going out for either anthem — to us, it would’ve been a distraction,” Thomas said according to ESPN. “And we just wanted to, again, make a decision as a team, and we decided it would probably be best if we all stayed in. And that’s the decision we made, and we were just going to go out there and play.”

Regardless of what the NFL’s intentions may have been for including “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” in its pregame ceremonies, it has created a dilemma for some players and supporters who have insisted that kneeling during the national anthem is not a specifically anti-American gesture; that stance becomes harder to defend when players stand for a black national anthem and kneel for the U.S. anthem.

The originator of anthem kneeling, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, doesn’t approve of any of the league’s social justice efforts. The quarterback-turned-activist referred to it as “propaganda.”

The ratings for the NFL’s season opener were significantly lower than the previous year, and anecdotally, many fans have expressed online that they don’t want to watch the games because of the league’s heavy emphasis on social justice demonstrations.

Black national anthem Intelwars Lift ev'ry voice and sing Monday Night Football National Anthem Stephanie druley

ESPN will televise NFL players’ protesting, singing of black national anthem on Monday Night Football

ESPN will televise any NFL players protesting the national anthem beginning on Monday — and will also feature the singing of the “black national anthem,” according to reports.

What are the details?

Monday Night Football’s Monday debut will likely be chock-full of protesters and will have two songs.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN — which typically shows the honor guard and the singing of the national anthem — will have a decidedly different format this season.

The network also reportedly has plans to televise the singing of the “black national anthem,” a song called “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”

ESPN Executive Vice President of Event and Studio Production Stephanie Druley told reporters, “Our policy is to cover the anthem when it’s newsworthy. That’s not going to change. We are going to continue as we’ve done with the NBA and the WNBA. We will cover social justice movements, actions, as they happen. We’re not going to shy away from that.”

Druley added, “Look, we’re going to keep our main rule, which is when it intersects with sports, we’re going to cover it, and look, we don’t see the social justice movement as being political. It’s social justice.”

When asked if viewers would be able to see the playing of the national anthem, Druley said she didn’t know.

“We will make a judgment call every week,” she responded. “But I can tell you that Week 1, that first game, you will see the anthem — and you will see ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice.'”

‘The country is going through a lot of political situations’

According to the report, NFL players will “be encouraged to salute victims of police brutality by placing details with their names on their helmets.”

“The league will also stencil social justice statements such as ‘End Racism’ and ‘It Takes All of Us’ in end zones this season,” the report continued. “The league will play ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ before each game during opening weekend.”

On Tuesday, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus issued similar remarks.

“We don’t forget the fact that the country is going through a lot of political situations with Black Lives Matter, social justice and social injustice,” he said. “We’re not going to ignore that. Obviously, we’re going to address it in our pregame show, with interviews and features. But the coverage of the game, once we get to our game coverage, will obviously be focusing on presenting the action on the field. But we don’t forget and we don’t ignore those other two elements.”

McManus pointed out that a delicate balance needs to be struck with regard to this highly unique season’s viewership.

“We need to thread the needle just the right way. Because there are people who are tuning in just to hear about football. So we need to make sure that we don’t overdo the emphasis on what’s going on in our country,” McManus explained. “But we’re not going to ignore it. Our announcers on-site at the games are not going to condone and they’re not going to condemn what’s going on. They’re going to report it — and they’re going to move on.”

The New York Giants will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, and the Tennessee Titans will square off against the Denver Broncos.

Black national anthem Intelwars Lift ev'ry voice and sing Miami Dolphins National Anthem NFL star spangled banner

Miami Dolphins to stay in locker room during national anthem and black national anthem pregame ceremonies

The Miami Dolphins will stay in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem and the black national anthem before their 2020 season opener Sunday against the New England Patriots, ESPN reported.

The NFL, attempting to participate in the social and racial justice demonstrations that have escalated over the past four months, will play “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which is known as the black national anthem, as well as “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Week 1 games.

The Dolphins are opting to not participate in either ceremony, saying they’re not interested in any more “empty gestures” that don’t contribute toward real and lasting change.

“This attempt to unify only creates more divide,” Dolphins players said in a video released Thursday. “So we’ll skip this song and dance, and as a team we’ll stay inside. We need changed hearts, not just a response to pressure. Enough, no more fluff and empty gestures. We need owners with influence and pockets bigger than ours to call up officials and flex political power.”

In their video, Dolphins players said they want team owners to use their wealth and political influence to push for legislative change, such as prison and police reform.

Much of the conversation surrounding social justice in the NFL has been hung up on the pregame national anthem. Since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against minorities, players on numerous teams have continued that protest — a demonstration that is divisive among fans, and has turned some away from the league completely.

The Dolphins players feel the emphasis on symbolic gestures during the national anthem has become an obstacle to substantive social justice reform, so they are responding by performing a different, perhaps more dramatic symbolic gesture during the national anthem, and producing a video to announce it ahead of time.

The game is scheduled at 1 p.m. ET in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

During the NFL season opener Thursday night between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans, the Chiefs players stood for the anthem, while the Texans stayed in the locker room. When the two teams locked arms on the field as social justice messages were displayed on the scoreboard before kickoff, some fans booed during a moment of silence.

“I didn’t fully understand that,” Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said of the booing. “There was no flag involved. There was nothing other than two teams coming together to show unity.”

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‘Black national anthem’ to be played at every NFL Week 1 game: reports

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song also known as the “black national anthem,” will be played at every Week 1 NFL game and ahead of “The Star-Spangled Banner” when the season begins, according to multiple reports.

What are the details?

ESPN and the Associated Press both cited unnamed sources reporting Thursday that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” would be either played or performed prior to the national anthem during the NFL’s week one games, beginning with the Sept. 10 season opener. Both outlets further reported that the names of victims of police brutality will be displayed on players’ helmets and jerseys.

USA Today also cited an unnamed insider in reporting that the NFL’s “Week 1 broadcasts will feature a number of educational PSAs about victims and their families.”

The NFL has taken major strides to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the continuing nationwide protests that followed, with Commissioner Roger Goodell endorsing the movement.

Goodell has also since encouraged franchises to hire former player and professional activist Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy for the league in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem at games in protest of police brutality.

Anything else?

For those unfamiliar, here are the lyrics to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”:

Lift every voice and sing
Till 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 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 till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
bitter the chast’ning rod,
felt in the day that hope unborn had died;
yet with a steady beat,
have not our weary feet,
come to the place on witch 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, till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our 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,
least our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee,
shadowed beneath the hand,
may we forever stand,
true to our God,
True to our native land.

Lift Every Voice