“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” will reportedly be performed live or played before “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to each NFL game during Week 1 of the upcoming season.
The song, considered the Black National Anthem, was originally written as a poem by civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson in 1899. It was later set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson, per TMZ.
The announcement comes after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently apologized for the league’s handling of Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests and the movement he inspired.
During a conversation last month with ESPN’s “The Return of Sports,” Goodell stunned many fans of the sport when he encouraged teams to sign the quarterback.
Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season, when he sparked outcry for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
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In a conversation with Mike Greenberg, Goodell flipped the script on his previous stance about marrying social issues with the league, saying he would welcome Kaepernick’s voice on discussions of racial injustice.
“Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s going to take a team to make that decision,” Goodell said. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
He added, “If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities. We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody’s welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time,” Goodell said. “But I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change.”
Hear/watch him tell it via the clip above.
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” will be played when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans to kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 10.