Martin Luther King Jr. Day, NFL playoff game will include a message with equality goals

NEW YORK, NY – For the first time ever, the NFL will play a playoff game on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with a matchup between the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, January 17, at 8:15 PM (ET) on ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes.

Kyler Murray’s playoff helmet with “MLK.”

The NFL is working alongside one of its Inspire Change social justice grant partners, The King Center and their CEO Dr. Bernice King to ensure that Dr. King’s life and legacy is honored and remembered during this game. Building upon the social justice in-stadium activations that have been present throughout the season, the league will add a circular “MLK” sticker to the back of every player’s helmet. Helmet decals will also feature, BE LOVE—as part of The King Center’s Be Love Campaign, or STOP HATE. BE LOVE will also be incorporated into the field stencil for this game, across the endzone from END RACISM.

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“We are proud to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at our game tonight,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Dr. King envisioned a world where justice and equality existed for all, a vision that is supported tirelessly by the King Center today. Through Inspire Change, we are honored to work alongside Dr. Bernice King and the King Center to help foster unity, drive positive change in our communities, and continue the critical fight to end racism.”

Dr. Bernice King will be hosting Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett at The King Center, with NFL Films capturing this meeting and a tour of the facility.  A segment of the tour will be shared during ESPN’s Monday Countdown show. Additionally, there will be soundbites from players on both teams discussing the legacy of Dr. King and the impact that he has had on them personally, that will air during the game broadcast.

“We thank the NFL for its support of The King Center as we call for a shift in priorities to create the Beloved Community and a more just, humane, peaceful and equitable world,” said Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center. “That shift in priorities starts with each of us individually adopting nonviolence as a way of life by taking the steps to Educate, Advocate and Activate – leading to the personal and societal transformation we seek.”

Kelvin Beachum, Players Coalition Task Force member, Social Justice Working Group member, and Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman on commemorating Dr. King:

“In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., may we continue to fight for justice for all who are marginalized economically or due to the color of their skin. We quote the words he spoke with conviction. It’s much more vital to embrace the ideals and actions of his message. We honor the life of a man who stood for justice, for liberty, for integrity. The man who reminded us that the most important voices in every room are those of “we the people.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle on playing a playoff game on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“It’s an honor to be able to play in the first NFL playoff game on such an important holiday.  Dr. King’s leadership, passion and commitment continue to serve as an inspiration to me.  While there is still much work to be done, days like Monday remind us of what’s possible when we unite to work toward justice and equality for all.”

In addition, the NFL will launch a special microsite that highlights EVERFI’s 306 African-American history curriculum, which the NFL Foundation funds in schools nationwide. The 306 curriculum is named to recognize the Lorraine Motel room number where Dr. King was assassinated, and the site will be available to the public and to school districts at no cost. The microsite can be found here:



NFL Communications contributed to this column

Photo/MichaelBeschloss/twitter – Steve Chalke and from other twitter accounts

Author: West Lamy

My passport requires no photograph. Experienced play-by-play broadcaster and multimedia sports journalist with years of producing and covering sports. WORLDWIDEWEST is a journey; in this journey my feet don't get blisters, but my shoes do.

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