The football season might be in full swing as of Sunday, but the realities that plague the country are still present. As a result, the Minnesota Vikings decided to show its solidarity with the social justice movement by paying tribute to George Floyd.
Ahead of the Vikings' season-opening game against the Green Bay Packers, the team decided to pay homage to Floyd by having a video play in his honor. The team's Gjallarhorn—which signifies the start of every game—was also silenced for the first time since it became a tradition.
"The Gjallarhorn will not be sounded today in honor of George Floyd and others who no longer have a voice due to racism," said the Vikings via social media. Floyd's family was also present to watch the video and experience the pre-game ceremony.
In May, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This turned the city into an epicenter of revolution with people taking to the streets in protest of police violence against Black people. Floyd's murder also sparked conversations and demonstrations around the country. Since this happened in the Vikings' backyard, the team found it necessary to stand in solidarity with the community.
"We're appreciative they're willing to come here and be part of this ceremony, and we know George Floyd has been a really big part of starting a lot of the focus on social justice in our world," Vikings' Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Miller per the Minnesota Star Tribune. "It's absolutely tragic and senseless he was killed, and we want our community to change in a positive manner after such a horrific act."
The Packers were also in support of this move. They stayed in the locker room during the singing of the National Anthem and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" so that the focus could be on the Vikings and Minneapolis.
"The Green Bay Packers respect the national anthem and United States flag and all that they represent, including the right to express ourselves," Packers team president and CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "We decided as a team to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem and 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' so as to not distract from our message that we stand united for social justice and racial inequality."
During this video and the singing of the National Anthem by the Sounds of Blackness, several Vikings players also elected to take a knee.