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NFL to play "Black anthem" before all Week 1 games, reports say

"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" will be performed live or played before "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to each NFL game during Week 1 and the league is considering putting names of victims of police brutality on helmet decals or jersey patches, according to numerous reports.

The news was first reported by Jason Reid of ESPN's "The Undefeated" Thursday.

The NFL Network's Steve Wyche added that the patches or decals could be worn all season long. For instance, a player could wear a decal with "G.F." for George Floyd, he said. The decisions on wearing decals or patches would be left up to individual players but teams could decide to act as a whole, Wyche noted.

The Associated Press said the league is working with players to recognize victims of systemic racism throughout the season in a variety of ways.

The AP said additional plans include the use of educational programs and storytelling about the victims and their families similar to the league's PSA on Botham Jean released in January and the Super Bowl commercial on Corey Jones featuring his cousin, former NFL star Anquan Boldin.

"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" is traditionally known as the Black anthem. It'll be played first when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans to kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 10.

It's uncertain whether fans will be in attendance Week 1 or at all this season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is considering asking fans to sign a waiver and wear masks, according to a person familiar with those conversations.

The NFL announced last month it is committing $250 million over 10 years to social justice initiatives, targeting what it calls "systemic racism" and supporting "the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans."

Following the nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denounced racism in a video prompted greatly by a players' video seeking NFL action.

"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and later set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, notes's Jared Dubin.

A CBS "Sunday Morning" special report on the song can be seen below:

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" by CBS Sunday Morning on YouTube
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