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Black Lives Matter ‘show of solidarity’ expected in NFL season opener between Texans and Chiefs









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NFL Network’s James Palmer says the Texans and Chiefs are in discussions over a ‘show of solidarity’ in support of Black Lives Matter in their season opener on Thursday

NFL Network’s James Palmer says the Texans and Chiefs are in discussions over a ‘show of solidarity’ in support of Black Lives Matter in their season opener on Thursday

The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs are in discussions over trying to do “something that is uniformed… to show solidarity” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of their NFL season opener on Thursday night.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick attracted criticism, most notably from US President Donald Trump, when he began taking a knee during the US national anthem in 2016 due to social injustices and police brutality towards black men in America.

The killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year has brought the issue of racism to the fore again in the sporting sphere, with NBA players even boycotting playoff games after Jacob Blake, another black man, was recently shot and seriously injured by police in Wisconsin.

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The Sky Sports NFL team discuss the sport’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the players’ role in the fight against racism

The Sky Sports NFL team discuss the sport’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the players’ role in the fight against racism

NFL players are expected to show their support to the BLM cause as the season starts this weekend, but NFL Network reporter James Palmer told Sky Sports News‘ Richard Graves that it is not yet known the specifics of what their protest will look like.

“We don’t know exactly what the two teams are going to do on Thursday night,” said Palmer. “The Texans and the Chiefs have been talking to one another – players on both sides – about trying to do something that is uniformed within the stadium, to show some sort of solidarity.

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The NFL returns to Sky Sports, with six live games kicking off the 2020 season in style on the new, dedicated Sky Sports NFL channel

The NFL returns to Sky Sports, with six live games kicking off the 2020 season in style on the new, dedicated Sky Sports NFL channel

“[Texans head coach] Bill O’Brien has said if his players want to kneel, he’ll kneel alongside them – something we’ve not heard a lot of coaches say over the last couple of years.

“I do think there’s going to be more action taken by players. There are several players on both teams, specifically guys like Kenny Stills on the Texans, who are extremely outspoken about what they try to do for social justice.

“There are some very bright, educated minds trying to put this thing together from the two sides, but they also don’t want it to be scatter-brained, in the sense that there’s a lot of different things going on.

“They’d like to show that they have a universal voice in how they want to attack change.”

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Palmer added that for the players, it is not just about making a protest or showing solidarity to the cause, however, as the likes of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes are letting their actions off the field do the talking.

“It’s an opportunity for a lot of players and a lot of organisations to show their voice,” said Palmer. “We’re seeing that right now, with what happened in the NBA, boycotting of some games.

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Former Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy and Mike Tirico of NBC Sports discuss the decision of some NFL teams to cancel practice sessions in solidarity with the NBA protest

Former Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy and Mike Tirico of NBC Sports discuss the decision of some NFL teams to cancel practice sessions in solidarity with the NBA protest

“We’re starting to see, sadly several years after Colin Kaepernick, that the voices of professional athletes in America are carrying much more weight – they’re getting listened to by a lot of people.

“The message from a lot of people within the league is the same. They want to see change and they want to do the best that they can to create change.

“What Mahomes is doing for voter registration and voter rights throughout Kansas City, it’s really showing that these guys aren’t just about taking a knee for the national anthem – if that’s what ends up happening – or locking arms.

“It’s about action. A lot of these guys in these organisations are now putting action forward, rather than just going out there and voicing their opinion about what’s going on. I think that’s what we’re going to see in the league this year.

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Former NFL defensive back Shaun Gayle says the only way to begin fixing the problems of racism in sport and society is to get equality across the board at all levels

Former NFL defensive back Shaun Gayle says the only way to begin fixing the problems of racism in sport and society is to get equality across the board at all levels

“I live in Denver and several players – former Broncos and current Broncos – were part of passing a bill that is about changing the way some of the police training is done and the way body cameras are operated in the state of Colorado.

“That is a direct example of what these guys are trying to accomplish. I think we’re going to see it start on Thursday and see it continue.”

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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher lend their ‘expertise’ on all things NFL as they make their Week One predictions for the new 2020 season, with some questionable results

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher lend their ‘expertise’ on all things NFL as they make their Week One predictions for the new 2020 season, with some questionable results

Analysis: Is there any stopping the Chiefs in 2020?

Sky Sports’ David Currie:

The Chiefs kick off the new NFL campaign, and their quest to become only the eighth team – and first since 2005 – to claim back-to-back Super Bowl titles, with the visit of the Texans on Thursday night.

The last team to achieve such a feat was, yes, you guessed it, the New England Patriots; but is there a changing of the guard taking place in the NFL? And not just because a certain Mr Brady has since left Foxborough for sunnier climes down in Florida; are the Chiefs the next great dynasty?

To show you the magnitude of the task facing the Chiefs as they look to repeat; the NFL is a league that prides itself on parity, with only the Green Bay Packers (1966-67), Miami Dolphins (1972-73), Pittsburgh Steelers (1974-75 and 1978-79), 49ers (1988-89), Dallas Cowboys (1992-93), Denver Broncos (1997-98) and Patriots managing to go back-to-back.

How to follow the NFL on Sky Sports

Sky and the NFL have agreed a new five-year partnership to broadcast the NFL, the first time the league has joined with an international broadcaster to launch a channel dedicated to the sport.

The agreement marks the 25th anniversary of live NFL coverage on Sky Sports with ‘Sky Sports NFL’ launched on Thursday, September 3 ahead of the 2020 season, which kicks off on Thursday, September 10.

The brand new in-season channel will be the round-the-clock home of the NFL on television in the UK and Republic of Ireland from the regular season through to the playoffs, with Super Bowl LV live from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Sunday, February 7.

Sky Sports NFL is your dedicated home of the NFL and will feature a minimum of five live games each week, including first-pick exclusive games in the 6pm and 9pm slot every Sunday alongside NFL Redzone and every Thursday Night, Sunday Night, and Monday Night Football.

Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/nfl, our Twitter account @SkySportsNFL & Sky Sports – on the go!



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