Earlier this week, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association released a statement outlining their social justice initiatives as the 2020 season begins in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both sides agree it is time to take additional steps toward establishing stronger communities in each NFL market.

Here is the list of action items:

  • All NFL, NFLPA and club facilities will be closed on Tuesday, November 3, to ensure that every member of the NFL family has an opportunity to exercise the precious right to vote.
    In the days leading up to the election, we will continue to sponsor non-partisan educational programs to ensure that our players, staff, and families know how to register, how to obtain absentee voting material, and are able to vote on Election Day.
  • We will support efforts in our communities to encourage people to vote, including by working with state officials to establish polling places at our stadiums. We will also identify safe and appropriate ways in which members of the NFL family can assist in election efforts.
  • We will devote the entirety of our one-hour program on NBC next Wednesday, September 9, to providing a platform for our players and allies to discuss the work that we are doing together to advance social justice and equality. Additional details on this program to be announced at a later date.
  • Clubs and ownership will facilitate meetings between state and local elected officials and leaders of law enforcement, to discuss steps that can be taken to reduce conflict and improve relations between law enforcement and members of the community.
  • The NFL and NFLPA will work together to support college education for the children of the victims who will be recognized by our players.

The notable takeaway is the NFL has followed the NBA’s initiative in utilizing their club facilities, possibly including stadiums, as polling locations for the 2020 general election. The Atlanta Hawks was the first team to utilize their arena as a polling location. Also, according to the statement, the Players Coalition has led the efforts of players and clubs to engage with leaders at all levels of government to express our perspective on issues like bail and criminal justice reform; promote education reform and economic opportunity in disadvantaged communities; sponsor efforts to improve police-community relations; sponsor voter education programs and registration drives.

FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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