By stenciling the phrases "End Racism" and "It Takes All Of Us" across end zones for home openers this fall, the NFL is ducking several messages for which it needs to take ownership. The league and its players plan to portray themselves as high-minded social justice heroes, when in fact many of them have sorry records of uncivil behavior that continue to go unaddressed.
ESPN's Jason Reid obtained an NFL memo about the end zone messages stating "how football and the NFL brings people together to work as one and use our example and our actions to help conquer racism." Reid writes:
"The two messages of inclusion, which will be stenciled on opposite end zones during kickoff week, are key elements of the league's broader, multifaceted rollout intended to highlight efforts to support diversity and inclusion when the new season begins."
Fans attending NFL season openers will get hit with a whole lot more social justice activism at the games, too. The league and the NFL Players Association collaborated on these plans to indoctrinate fans with social justice.
Kneeling, of course, is a given. There will be a recorded pregame performance of the black national anthem, "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing." Stadium video screens will show montages of social justice work by NFL players and clubs. Reid tells more:
"What's more, according to the memo, the NFL has engaged the James Weldon Johnson Foundation (the song's author) and the NAACP to work with us to inform and educate fans about the historical significance of the song during the weeks leading up to kickoff, and will utilize the NFL's owned and operated channels to share as broadly as possible."
The NFL memo confirms that players can display helmet decals honoring victims of systemic racism, Reid says.
More from the memo:
"Each player will have the option to honor an individual by displaying that person's name via a decal on the back of their helmet. Players will be offered a list of names and short biographical information to help guide their decision-making, however, they can also select a victim of systemic racism who is not represented on this list."
NFL coaches will get the option of wearing hats that honor the victims of systemic racism.
That's what the NFL is doing. Here's what it's not doing.
There won't be any messages or any acknowledgment of the many skeletons in the NFL's closet.
There won't be any mention of NFL players arrested for drug abuse. How about armed robbery? No. How about assault, disorderly conduct and drunk driving? Nope. Nada.
Will there be any helmet decals honoring the victims of NFL players -- the wives, girlfriends and children? None whatsoever. Apparently not even on the NFL's radar.
How about a league apology for the anti-social behavior of so many of its players through the years? Including 229 arrests for drunk driving, 117 arrests for drug use and 102 for domestic violence. Not one word is forthcoming. Not one word that would get in the way of its social justice crusade. There will be 15 games after opening day when the league could own up to its sordid record.
Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a public apology for not listening to players' complaints about police brutality and systemic racism. We're still waiting for his apology to the victims of NFL players committing criminal acts, but we're not holding our breath for that.