At the beginning of July, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported that there were discussions surrounding whether NFL players could wear social justice patches to recognize victims of police brutality. Michael McCartney of Front Office Sports reported Tuesday morning that players would likely be invited to wear helmet decals bearing the names or initials of police violence victims and systematic racism. Some thought players would be able to make their tributes seen on their uniforms, but McCartney confirmed the league would only allow these names or initials of the victims to appear as a decal on their helmets. For example, “G.F.” would represent George Floyd. The article mentions that the players will have to provide a list of names that they’ll be allowed to wear.
In Wyche’s article, he said that we could see one team with 15 different decals. Giving the players the freedom to choose and not making teams decide as a whole is the correct way to go about this. There haven’t been any final decisions made, but it sounds like this is going to happen by the time Week 1 rolls around.
Other leagues are trying this as well. The NBA is letting players replace their names on the backs of the jerseys with messages such as, “Say Their Names,” or “I Can’t Breathe.” The NFL likely won’t go that far as they’re thought of as the most “by the book” or traditional league. We’ve seen “Salute to Service,” but that’s the extent to which players have been allowed to wear other than a decal.