NFL opening September 11th 14:16 players show solidarity to eliminate racism
The NFL-American Professional Football League kicked off on the 10th. As protests against racism spread in the United States, the most popular professional sports in the country also strongly stated their stance of not allowing discrimination, with players from both teams arm-in-arm and showing solidarity to eliminate discrimination before the game.
On the 10th, the NFL played the opening game of the local Chiefs and Texans, who won last season’s Super Bowl in Kansas in the Midwest.
In the United States, protests against racial discrimination spread in May, when a black man was beheaded and killed by a white police officer, and on that day slogans such as “Let’s end racism” and “Let’s all do it together” were written on the field.
Before the game, a song known as the “Black National Anthem” was played, and some players protested on one knee during the following national anthem singing.
In addition, players from both teams lined up in a row to show solidarity with the elimination of discrimination, and the players’ helmets received messages such as “Black lives are also important.”
On that day, about 17,000 people, more than 20 percent of the stadium’s capacity, entered the stadium as a measure against the infection of the new coronavirus, but spectators were prohibited from wearing ornaments or painting faces reminiscent of indigenous peoples with the Chiefs’ motif, and the league as a whole strongly stated that racism was not allowed.
Racism Movements for Protests
In recent years, there have been wide-demand protests by players against racism in the NFL, and it has become a debate across the United States over whether or not to do so.
It all started in 2016 when Colin Capanic, a Forty-Nainers star, ctood on his knees in a pre-game national anthem, far from the “free country” sung in the American national anthem, following a series of assaults on blacks by police officers at the time.
After that, many players agreed and protested to kneel during the national anthem singing in the same way, but in response, President Trump denounced it as “an insult to the country” and it became a debate that divided the country.
Against this background, the NFL said in 2018 that players who did not want to stand up during the national anthem could stay in the locker room, while the players said they would fine the team if they were on the ground and did not stand up, but the players were repulsed.
And then, with protests once again raised in the wake of the death of black George Floyd being beheaded by a white police officer, the NFL changed its position in June and said it was “a mistake not to listen to the players” and that it would allow players to protest in the future.
Also, in July, the Redskins, who had been criticized for discriminatoryly expressing the color of indigenous people’s skin, decided to change the name, making it the Washington Football Team this season, and the league as a whole is accelerating its efforts to eliminate discrimination.
New rules for measures against the Corona Virus
This season, the NFL has set new rules for the prevention of new coronavirus infections.
The first is the right to “opt out” that allows players to decline to play, and instead of playing, players can receive approximately 16 million yen in advance in Japanese yen from next season’s annual salary.
So far, 67 people have announced the exercise of their rights in a system that allows athletes with asthma and other diseases to receive approximately 37 million yen in addition to the minimum guaranteed annual salary without having to play.
In addition, the exchange of uniforms that the players had done after the game was prohibited on the field and will be delivered by mail after washing instead.
On the other hand, while other professional sports in the United States are being held without spectators, the NFL has decided to limit the number of spectators after thorough measures against infection if approved by health authorities in various places, but experts have expressed concern that this could lead to mass infection.
However, if all matches are played without spectators this season, the loss is estimated to be about 600 billion yen for the entire league, and for the NFL, which is the most popular of the four major professional sports, how to balance infection control and box office will be a major issue in the future.