Falcons Honor Congressman John Lewis

Anthems bring unity and protest

September 13, 2020
The Atlanta Falcons honored late Congressman John Lewis by wearing white armbands with his initials

(Photo Credit; Atlanta Falcons)


The coronavirus pandemic kept fans out of Mercedes Benz Stadium Sunday as the Atlanta Falcons started the football season with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks 38-25. But, there were plenty of noteworthy occurrences during the contest.

The Falcons had issued a statement prior to the season kickoff saying “While we aren’t able to have our fans in the building, we wanted to share some of the things we have coming up for this weekend and on game-day.”

The Atlanta Falcons honored late Congressman John Lewis by wearing white armbands with his initials
(Photo Credit: Atlanta Falcons)

Sunday, both teams honored the late Congressman John Lewis by wearing white arm bands with Lewis’ initials.  Lewis was also named an honorary team captain by the Falcons.

The late Civil Rights icon, who represented the 5th Congressional District for more than 30 years, died on July 17 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

During pregame warmups Falcons players wore shirts with a Lewis quote and a Rise Up & Vote logo.

An Alicia Keyes performance of the song known as the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, was broadcast after the team warmups.

Falcons players stood during the playing of the national anthem, while some Seattle players took a knee.

During the kickoff, both teams knelt in protest of social injustice.

After the start of the game, the Falcons issued the following statement:

Falcons Creed (From the Atlanta Falcons Social Justice Committee):

  • We Rise Up to bring inspiration, access and opportunities to younger generations in ATL.
  • We Rise Up to bring awareness to important social issues that impact our locker room, our families and our community.
  • We Rise up for mental health awareness to decrease the stigma and understand that asking for help is a sign of strength.
  • We Rise Up and continue to unify our communities and use our collective voices for good.
  • We Rise Up to celebrate our similarities AND our differences.
  • We Rise Up against social injustice, racism, sexism and every other form of discrimination.
  • We Rise Up to support BLACK lives because we believe ALL lives matter.
  • We Rise Up to take action by increasing voter awareness, education and registration.

“We support our players’ ability to raise their individual and collective voices and continue to create much-needed change in the world. Together we will continue to shine a light on social issues that affect our community.” 

Across the NFL teams protested social injustice Sunday in various ways. Some chose to stay inside the locker room during the playing of the national anthem, while others locked arms in the end zone.