Panthers’ Stephen Weatherly’s Proposed Social Justice Patch Could Create Problems
Stephen Weatherly is embracing the NFL’s social justice movement.
Weatherly, a veteran defensive end who signed with Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers this offseason, intends to wear a social justice decal this season.
The slogan in question would read ‘All Black Lives Matter.’
Although the phrase may sound controversial or dismissive, Weatherly explained the proposed decal’s actual meaning.
Stephen Weatherly is entering his first year with the Panthers
A seventh-round pick from Vanderbilt in 2016, Stephen Weatherly became an effective reserve pass-rusher over the last two years.
Weatherly totaled six sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits, and forced two fumbles between the 2018-19 seasons for the Vikings.
Weatherly also had a sack and three tackles during the 2020 playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers signed Weatherly to a two-year, $12.5 million contract in March. Weatherly is expected to compete for starting snaps at defensive end, although rookie Yetur Gross-Matos could push him.
Stephen Weatherly hopes to wear an ‘All Black Lives Matter’ decal
If the NFL allows players to wear unique social justice messages on their helmets or jerseys, Stephen Weatherly already has an idea in mind.
Weatherly recently told reporters he wants to put “All Black Lives Matter” on his helmet.
According to the Riot Report, the NFL will reportedly allow players to wear decals featuring “names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence,”
Weatherly said the message refers to the idea people treat him better than others because he is a Black professional athlete.
“A lot of people in this world will see me and see what I do and think I’m an amazing person and give me value. But my cousin, my mom, my brother, all aren’t – because they don’t do what I do for a living.” So that’s why I would wear a decal that says ALL Black Lives Matter.”
The NFLPA is expected to submit initials or names. The NBA allowed players to wear approved phrases like “Say My Name” or “Equality.”
Could Weatherly’s proposed slogan create problems for the NFL?
Stephen Weatherly’s reasoning makes sense and he has clearly thought about the power of his message.
The NFL may have a problem if he wore that patch, though. The slogan, ‘All Black Lives Matter,” sounds very similar to “All Lives Matter.”
“All Lives Matter” is considered dismissive and distracting of the Black Lives Matter movement and pursuit for equality. Sacramento Kings announcer Grant Napear resigned in June after he tweeted the phrase.
The last thing the NFL needs is a controversy that arose because people misinterpreted why a player wore a certain slogan.
There could be public backlash, though, if the NFL explicitly shut down players’ desire to wear a slogan or phrase. The Colin Kaepernick saga is still affecting the NFL’s reputation four years after he first took a knee.
The NFL is facing a tough situation with the season nearing opening night. But whatever the league allows him to do, it sounds like Stephen Weatherly will wear some form of decal this season.
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