“I don’t think people want politics in their sports,” said the conservative journalist.
During a recent episode of her SiriusXM podcast, Megyn Kelly lashed out at the NFL for addressing racial justice issues.
“I don’t think people want politics in their sports. I think that’s why the NBA has taken such a hit and learned from its prior experience,” the conservative journalist began, as reported by Mediaite. The NFL doesn’t seem to be learning quite as quickly.”
After the NFL publicly showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, the league is continuing the social justice initiatives implemented last season.
The NFL previously announced that players are being allowed to kneel to protest racism, and can wear the names of police brutality victims and social justice slogans on the back of helmets. Per Mediaiate, players can choose from, “End Racism,” “Stop Hate,” “It Takes All of Us,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Inspire Change” and “Say Their Stories.”
Megyn Kelly (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Fortune)
“All of these for the most part are race based,” Kelly noted of the six messages.
Over the summer, the NFL announced it will play the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” before each game in the 2021-22 season as part of a $250M investment towards social justice, theGrio reported.
“I don’t think that the average American – Black or white – wants to hear the Black national anthem before they hear the national anthem…and it’s no offense against people of color, we’re one country,” Kelly said. “We don’t need separate anthems.”
“It’s a chance to come together,” she added. “Celebrate America… and then play a sports game. And not to shove politics or divisive cultural issues down the throats of the viewers who are looking for a getaway.”
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written by civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson and composed by his brother, John Rosamond Johnson in 1900. Per the NAACP, the song became a “rallying cry” for Black Americans during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
Although it didn’t happen until the Super Bowl, the NFL considered implementing the song as early as week one of the 2020 season. Then Jacksonville Jaguars player Chris Conley, now with the Houston Texans, shared his feelings about it when news first broke last June.
“The league taking the opportunity to play “Lift every voice and sing” (the black national anthem) is sweet. It’s a great way to honor those who started this movement year and years ago,” Conley tweeted.
“For those who aren’t familiar with it, this song seeks to remind us of our past as a country and to strive to be better,” he continued. “It speaks to all of us not just black people even tho it became a rallying cry for blacks in the Jim Crow era. It is a beautiful message birthed from pain.”
This story contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Blue Telusma and Jaelen Ogadhoh
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