NFL planning to allow social justice decals on helmets

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FILE – This Dec. 30, 2012, file photo shows a Buffalo Bills helmet displaying a WWFD (West Webster Fire Department) decal in memory of two fallen West Webster, N.Y., firefighters who lost their lives in a shooting and a S.H.E.S. decal in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, before an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Orchard Park, N.Y. The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence. The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert, File)

The NFL is planning to allow players to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence.

The league has been in talks with individual players and their union since June about somehow honoring such victims. The initiative will be done leaguewide, with each team deciding who it will honor and how to display the names or initials.

Unlike the NBA, which is allowing players to wear slogans on their jerseys, the NFL will stick to names and initials once a final agreement has been reached with the players’ association. The program will continue for the entire season.

This initiative is something of a breakthrough because the league has not allowed such messaging, except for during its October NFL Crucial Catch program in conjunction with the fight against breast cancer, and in its November salutes to the military. Players also have been allowed to represent a cause on their cleats one weekend per season.

But a 17-week campaign such as the one being planned is something new for the NFL.

A list of names and initials for use on the helmet decals is being put together by the league and the NFLPA. Players have been encouraged to provide those names and initials.

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