Chiefs plan social justice initiatives ahead of season opener

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Posted at 4:25 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 19:25:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a long and strange offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs finally begin their Super Bowl defense Thursday against the Houston Texans, a game you can watch on 41 Action News.

But the NFL and its players will bring more than just their playbooks and game faces to the field this year.

Amid a summer filled with calls to end racism and police brutality, the NFL and teams across the league plan to continue to put the spotlight on the need for social justice.

The grounds crew at Arrowhead Stadium started work Wednesday on painting two different slogans in the end zones — "It Takes All of Us," and "End Racism" — ahead of the season opener.

The messages are part of a league-wide effort the NFL announced earlier this summer.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has been active in a voter registration initiative along with safety Tyrann Mathieu this offseason, said the players also plan an additional demonstration before the Texans game.

"We'll do something in unison, something together, to show our support for everybody out there that doesn't have the platform that we have," Mahomes said earlier this week.

Mahomes and Mathieu were part of a player-led viral video this summer that urged the NFL to take a stronger stance against police brutality and racial injustice.

The league also announced it would boost efforts to educate players and their families on the importance of voting in the upcoming November elections, pledging to close all NFL offices and facilities on Election Day so players have the chance to vote.

Queen Latifah will host an "NFL Inspire Change" special Wednesday on NBC, which will "highlight the efforts of NFL players, Legends and others in the NFL family to advance social justice and equality."

The special will include:

  • An original poem by Seattle Seahawks and former Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett — featuring voices of players, including New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and more;
  • Mike Tirico of NBC Sports leading a discussion with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith;
  • A discussion with the NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche and the Los Angeles Chargers;
  • A snippet of the league's new "Say Their Stories" series and an interview with New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara about this season's efforts to honor victims of systemic racism and social justice heroes;
  • An Andrea Kremer interview with two Players Coalition task force members, Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum and New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty;
  • An essay written by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the importance of exercising your right to vote in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis.

The NFL also will air a kickoff special titled "It Takes All of Us" on Thursday, which will focus on an "unprecedented offseason and honor the historic social justice movement and community engagement of our players and clubs across the country," the league announced.

The special will include a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and a 90-second film titled "It Takes All of Us" prior to the national anthem.