MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings say the family of George Floyd will be inside U.S. Bank Stadium for Sunday’s home opener against the Green Bay Packers.
In a statement Friday morning, the team said the Floyd family will be recognized following warmups and the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is often referred to as the Black national anthem. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no fans will be inside the stadium.
For the first time, the Vikings’ Gjallarhorn was not sounded on Sunday to honor those, like Floyd, who no longer have a voice due to racism.
During the national anthem, which was performed by Sounds of Blackness, the Vikings stood arm-in-arm on the sidelines, while the Packers elected to stay in the tunnel. They came on the field as soon as the anthem finished.
The Vikings also announced that the team will be using its platform in several ways this season to push for social justice and equality. Before the game, for instance, players will wear custom black warmup shirts featuring the names of 200 people killed by police or in acts of racism. Among the names listed are Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Players will also be able to feature the names in decals on their helmets. Coaches will have the option to have similar patches on their hats.
Additionally, the end zones at U.S. Bank Stadium will be marked Sunday with the messages reading “It Takes All Of Us” and “End Racism.” Similar messages will be posted at other NFL home openers.
Earlier this week, the Vikings detailed how $1 million of a pledged $5 million will be spent on social justice initiatives. These included funding for local nonprofits, a team-wide push for voter education and registration, and support for a Black history curriculum in Minnesota schools.
George Floyd died on Memorial Day after being arrested by Minneapolis police. Cellphone video of the fatal arrest showed an officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes as he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. The video sparked days of protests and riots in the Twin Cities.
The four officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired from the police department and charged with criminal offences. One ex-officer is facing murder charges. Their trial is slated to be held in March.