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NFL Opening Week Has a Different Look this Season

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates with the fans as he leaves the field after defeating the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan. 12, 2020. Photo: Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today Sports via Reuters

By Evan Weiner |

It is countdown to kickoff time with the National Football League opener tonight between the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.

This will be a very different NFL season. COVID-19 wiped out the pre-season schedule and street protests following the death of George Floyd caught the attention of the league. Now comes the test for the NFL. Will the league listen to its players and how will NFL fans react to the product if players protest during the Star-Spangled Banner and press for social reforms? There won’t be many customers watching games in person so whatever protest people in the stands might have will not be widespread. But if the fans are unhappy with the league that could be seen in TV ratings. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell has some regrets about not listening to Colin Kaepernick and Kaepernick’s concerns which sparked his police brutality protests during the playing of the national anthem while he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

In June, Goodell put out a statement that the NFL was wrong in not listening to the concerns of African American players and he encouraged the employees, the players, coaches and others to speak out on issues. Goodell’s statement also included, “we the National Football League believe that black lives matter.”

Daniel Snyder’s Washington NFL team’s brand name is gone. Clark Hunt’s Kansas City Chiefs franchise will not allow fans in the stadium if they have Native American face paint on or wear Native American headdress. The NFL may also include the playing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” which is also known as the Black national anthem as part of the pre-game package that includes the Star-Spangled Banner and colors. The NFL doesn’t care anymore about presidential criticism about players or even some owners expressing their viewpoints.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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