NFL planning to allow social justice decals on helmets

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FILE – In this Oct. 23, 2016, file photo, a New Orleans Saints helmet rests on the playing field before an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo. An Associated Press review of public tax documents found that the Bensons’ foundation has given at least $62 million to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and other Catholic causes over the past dozen years, including gifts to schools, universities, charities and individual parishes. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

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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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