The NFL was taking some heat Thursday night leading up to the opening game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans over its “End Racism” slogan painted in the end zones at Arrowhead Stadium.
The league, as part of its social justice initiatives, said earlier this year it would paint “End Racism” on the end zones and have players wear decals to express a message during the season. However, the message appeared to have fallen flat with fans.
Some took issue with the Chiefs’ moniker painted next to the message as some believe the organization should change their name in fairness to Native Americans. Others noted the weird juxtaposition with an ad for Ford Motors within the range of the message.
Players chose to have other messages during their pregame workouts. “It Takes All of Us” and “BLM” were among the phrases seen on the field.
Players who opt to wear the decal will be given a list of names or they can choose a “victim of systematic racism who is not on that list,” NFL executive Anna Isaacson told teams in July, according to the NFL Network.
As we continue to amplify and elevate the NFL’s ongoing and long-term commitment to social justice, we will be incorporating several prominent elements on the field, into all broadcasts and across league and club platforms to begin the NFL season and beyond,” the memo reportedly read. “In developing these concepts, we have worked directly with players and received input from the NFLPA.”
The league will also play the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” before the start of games during Week 1.