The Latest on Week 1 in the NFL (all times EDT):
Both the Seahawks and Falcons honored the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement who died in July after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The Falcons and the Seahawks wore white armbands featuring the initials of the late Georgia Democratic congressman and logos of each team.
The Falcons also wore shirts that featured a quote from Lewis on the front and the team’s Rise Up & Vote logo on the back during pregame warmups. The quote from Lewis: “The Vote is the most powerful, nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.”
In a statement issued by the team, defensive end Steven Means said, “We’re taking this moment and making it a movement, not just as a race, a community or a team, but as a nation, ... It’s time to stand up, rise up and vote.”
The Falcons also honored Lewis as an honorary captain for the game.
--Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta.
Players and coaches kicked off the 2020 season in different ways when it came to social justice messages. Some knelt. Some stood. Some didn’t come out for the national anthem.
The Minnesota Vikings locked arms in the end zone about a half-hour before their game against Green Bay for the recorded performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” after nine family members of the late George Floyd were recognized on the video board from their perch in the upper concourse.
The group included three brothers and one sister of Floyd, the handcuffed Black man who died on May 25 about three miles from the stadium when a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.
In Detroit, the Lions lined up shoulder to shoulder at the goal line and the Bears faced them as they stood side by side 80 yards away. After a moment of silence, the videoboards showed Alicia Keys singing “Lift Every Voice.”
In Jacksonville, Colts coach Frank Reich took a knee during the national anthem, the only one on the sideline to do so. The Jaguars were in the locker room.
Neither the Bills or Jets were on the field in Buffalo for the “Star Spangled Banner.”
In Cleveland, Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett one of three Cleveland players who knelt during anthem in Baltimore. Baker Mayfield announced yesterday on Twitter he had changed plans and stood.
--Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis.
It’s here! The 2020 NFL season kicks off today with 14 games after a strange offseason in which teams learned their playbooks via videoconference and didn’t play any preseason games.
Some stadiums are empty, others have a spattering of fans but mostly empty seats because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players and coaches have been tested daily for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Teams also are planning different ways to stand up against racial injustice following a summer of protests across the globe sparked by George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.
Some players are kneeling during the national anthem like Colin Kaepernick did several years ago when he started bringing attention to social injustices.
The Washington players and members of the Philadelphia Eagles lined up together, forming an oval prior to their game.
--Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver..
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