George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25

By Ally Mauch
September 12, 2020 05:30 PM
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The Minnesota Vikings will honor George Floyd’s family before their home opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes while three other officers stood idly by. His death led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

In a Friday news release, the Vikings said the NFL team “will continue to use the team's platform to bring awareness to critical issues of racism and injustice when they kick off the season.”

Floyd’s family will be recognized prior to Sunday’s game, the release said. Before the family recognition, a pre-recorded performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson will play.

George Floyd

The song “will accompany a video showcasing the social justice work that NFL clubs and players are doing to make an impact in the community,” the team said. A pre-recorded performance of the national anthem, sung by Minneapolis-St.Paul based ensemble Sounds of Blackness, will also play before the game.

Vikings players will wear custom shirts emblazoned with the words “Be the Change” on the front and the names of 200 people who have been killed by acts of racism or police brutality on the back. Players will also have the option to wear helmet decals with social justice messages or the name of a victim of systemic racism.

The end zones in the stadium will be marked with the messages “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism,” one of many league-wide initiatives announced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this month.

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In August, Goodell shared that he wished he had listened to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after he began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of systematic racism and police brutality.

"Well the first thing I'd say is I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to," he told Emmanuel Acho during an appearance on his video series, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.

"We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue," Goodell continued. "I wish we had the benefit of that. We never did. And we would've benefited from that, absolutely."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.