As the NFL closes in on the genesis of a 2020 season that will be unprecedented and unpredictable, Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized the league's initiatives and commitment to bringing about racial inequality and social justice.
In a conference call with the media on Tuesday, Goodell confirmed the phrases "It Takes All of Us" and "End Racism" would appear in NFL end zones this season and also encouraged voter registration.
The end zone phrasing was among a host of initiatives made known to clubs in a July memo. Furthermore on Tuesday, Goodell touched on the latest news regarding COVID-19 protocols and attendance in stadiums, while NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent and NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills also offered updates on possible player boycotts and coronavirus procedures, respectively.
Goodell reaffirmed the league's efforts to move forward with social justice initiatives from the outset of the season, touching on the previously announced on-field signage. End zone borders will feature stencils with "It Takes All of Us" and "End Racism" on opposite ends of the field. It's part of the NFL's Inspire Change program.
Goodell also stated that he believes teams with no fans at the start of the season may be able to open up seating as the season goes on. Furthermore, he does "not believe it's a competitive advantage" that some teams have fans and others do not.
Goodell called the NFL "very fortunate" to be dealing with such a low number of cases thus far and added they are in the best position to finish a full season, including the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, stating it wouldn't be easy, "but we are prepared."
Among the newest COVID protocols announced Tuesday, Sills said coaches and sideline personnel will be required to wear face coverings during games.
Sills added on Tuesday that the league would continue to decrease the number of people allowed in team travel parties, including owners who will have limited access in terms of numbers to field and locker room.
Also on Tuesday, Vincent reaffirmed the league's stance on possible player boycotts in protesting social inequality and police brutality, stating: "Yes, they all have the choice – that individual choice and right to either sit out or protest."