This past month, the National Football League (NFL) made a donation to the International African American Museum as a part of its Helmet Decal Program. Through this program, NFL players and coaches wore decals on their helmets or caps to honor victims of systemic racism, victims of police misconduct, and social justice heroes during the 2020 season. Players and coaches participating in the program personally selected victims, heroes, or unifying phrases to honor on gameday.
The donation from the NFL Foundation was made in the name of Anthony Scott, who wanted to honor his brother Walter Scott—a 2015 victim of police misconduct in North Charleston. The players who honored Walter Scott’s life and legacy this season are Todd Gurley (Falcons) and Brandon Shell (Seahawks).
“We are grateful to Todd Gurley and South Carolina native Brandon Shell for reminding us all of the importance of using our respective platforms to advance matters of justice,” said Dr. Elijah Heyward III, Chief Operating Officer of the International African American Museum. “The International African American Museum is committed to offering a transformative experience that honors legacies such as those of Mr. Walter Scott and others. We are moved by the Scott family’s decision to select the museum as a beneficiary of such an important gift.”
The mission of the International African American Museum is to honor the untold stories of the African American journey at one of our country’s most sacred sites. Similar to the mission of the Museum, these decals and accompanying video series, “Say Their Stories,” have shared some of the untold and often overlooked stories of African Americans. Ultimately, these two players wear Walter Scott’s name as a decal on their helmets as a reminder of the victims’ stories and to spread awareness about the inequalities that minorities, especially African Americans, face every day in our country.
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