Between the COVID-19 pandemic and civil rights movement that’s swept the nation in recent months, professional sports leagues in the United States and abroad are realizing the size of the platforms they have to raise awareness about social issues plaguing the country.
And the NFL hasn’t always gotten it right.
Notably,over time the league has changed its stance on Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful kneeling protests, which were organized to call attention to police brutality and racism. And now, the league is establishing a new effort to encourage voting and civic engagement with three non-profit, non-partisan organizations.
“We’re launching NFL Votes to inspire everyone in the NFL family — including our fans — to participate in the civic process by getting registered to vote and ultimately exercising their right to vote,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in the league’s press release.
“When meeting with players and legends to listen to the things they’re passionate about, voting is clearly an issue of critical importance.”
The program will support and encourage current and former NFL players, club and league personnel and fans to organize voter registration drives in partnership with Rock the Vote, RISE to Vote and I Am a Voter.
Starting Friday, Aug. 7, these groups will hit the ground running for fans and local communities in their club markets, hometowns, alumni college campuses, high schools and military bases overseas.