The fluid situation we currently live in gives us a bit of doubt if the NFL plays games this fall. However, as the season nears, important information is trickling out from the front office and teams alike.
Fans and a Liability Waiver
One of the many roadblocks to the 2020 NFL season is whether or not fans should be allowed into NFL stadiums in the fall. Some teams have proposed the idea to have fans sign a waiver that protects the teams from any lawsuits claiming coronavirus was contracted in the stands.
This is different than a heavily-criticized plan proposed by colleges to have its student-athletes sign a waiver before being allowed to participate in collegiate athletics. This waiver would give the fans the option to still stay home, knowing the risks of sitting in close proximity with others for an extended period of time.
Teams wanting fans in the stands would need to work with their state and local agencies to develop a plan to safely allow fans to enter through their gates. One unknown variable is how teams will test for the virus.
Already in the NFL’s plans is to close off the first six to eight rows of stadium seating to generate advertising revenue for the teams. As the season draws closer, social distancing guidelines may still be a factor in some states but most likely will be decided on an organization-to-organization basis.
On Thursday, FedEx, the naming sponsor for the Washington Redskins stadium, asked owner Daniel Snyder to change the team’s name, given its disrespectful taste toward Native Americans. After FedEx’s request, Nike pulled all merchandise for the Redskins from its website.
If you try and go to the Washington shop on Nike’s website, you are immediately redirected to other Washington, D.C.-based teams like the Wizards or Nationals. All other NFL team’s gear is being sold on the website.
Snyder has reportedly no plans to change the team name. The team stated, “no other owner has contributed more to the Native American community.”
A poll conducted by UC Berkeley this year discovered that a majority of poll respondents who identified as Native Americans were offended by the league’s decision not to force the Washington front office to change their name. Washington has held the team name since 1933.
NFL to Play Black National Anthem
The NFL reportedly is going to play the black national anthem titled “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” before every Week 1 game this season. According to the ESPN report, the song will be featured before the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Many prominent NFL players have already voiced their decision to kneel during the nation’s anthem. This comes after a video from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month that said the league was wrong for not listening to players who knelt to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
The league and the player’s association are working together with the idea of players listing names of victims on their uniforms or helmet decals. Additionally, the league plans to promote educational programs about victims.