The world was in a much different place the last time two NFL teams stepped on a field.
And with everything that’s happened since, between the COVID-19 pandemic and protests around the country calling for an end to racial inequality and police brutality, professional sports leagues that have already made their returns have been using their platforms to keep focus on these issues.
Meanwhile, a big question leading up to the 2020 NFL season was how the league would make a statement of its own.
Well Thursday night, as the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans prepared for the first game of the campaign, players and staffers from both teams linked arms at the center of the field for a “moment of unity.”
Unfortunately, for reasons unfathomable, some fans in attendance booed the gesture.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt had some words about the negative reaction.
“The moment of unity I personally thought was good,” Watt said, via James Palmer of NFL Media. “I mean the booing during that moment was unfortunate. I don’t fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved other than two teams coming together to show unity.”
After the Chiefs 34-20 win, Mahomes told NBC why the teams came together for the demonstration.
“Obviously with everything going on in this country, we wanted to show that we’re unified as a league,” Mahomes said. “We’re not going to let playing football distract us from what we’re doing and making change in this world. And I feel like Deshaun is a great guy who shows that and leads by example every single day and every time I’ve been around him and so I’m gonna try to do the same. I feel like the Chiefs, the Texans, the rest of the NFL, we’re going to keep making change in this world.”
Despite the jeers from the crowd, it was a nice moment for the NFL.