George Floyd’s memory was honored inside the Bank Stadium Sunday during the Minnesota Vikings homecoming against the Green Bay Packers.
Prior to the Vikings’ 2020 season opener Sunday, the team locked arms in a show of unity during the recording of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” reported CBS Minnesota.
Family members of George Floyd stood on the Gjallarhorn’s raised perch above the lower bowl of U.S. Bank Stadium during a moment of silence to honor Floyd and victims of systemic racism.
“We’re appreciative they’re willing to come here and be part of this ceremony, and we know George Floyd has been a really big part of starting a lot of the focus on social justice in our world,” said Andrew Miller, the Vikings’ chief operating officer.
Dawn Mitchell of Fox 9 tweets a video clip from the top of the stands during the pregame tribute.
Green Bay Packers players and coaches stayed in the locker room during the tribute and national anthem, performed by Grammy winning Sounds of Blackness in a prerecorded video.
Packers team president and CEO Mark Murphy stated they decided to remain in the locker room “so as to not distract from our message that we stand united for social justice and racial inequality.” He added “The Green Bay Packers respect the national anthem and United States flag and all that they represent, including the right to express ourselves
Minnesota Vikings Free To Express Themselves Against Racial Injustice
During the anthem, several Vikings players knelt while others remained standing while draping arms on their teammate’s shoulder pads to demonstrate solidarity.
“I knew that some guys were probably going to kneel. That was up to them,” head coach Mike Zimmer said.
According to linebacker Anthony Barr, locker room discussions focused on freedom of expression. “However you feel about it, you should express it your way,” Barr said.
Several other efforts were made by the Minnesota Vikings team to honor George Floyd and the cause he represents.
Team leaders collaborated with the Floyd family to establish the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship with a $125,000 charitable foundation.
Additionally, players assisted in designing the team’s pregame shirts. The expression “Be The Change” is on the front and “Say Their Names” on the back. The shirts included names of victims of racial injustice.
The NFL has also added messages along the end zone of each stadium that read, “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us.”
[H/T CBS Minnesota]