ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills will make a social justice statement every time they put on their helmets this season.
The team on Saturday announced that the names of unarmed Black men and women who were killed by police officers will be featured as decals on their helmets. They will use general social justice messages as well.
"Ahmaud Arbery. Black Lives Matter. It takes all of us. Elijah McClain. Stop hate. Breonna Taylor. These names and phrases will be on our players’ helmets this season. This is why it matters," the Bills said Saturday in a social media post, accompanied by a 7-minute, 28-second video explaining the decision.
Several Bills have been outspoken during the offseason about social justice issues following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In a wide-ranging Zoom call with the Buffalo media Bills quarterback Josh Allen had plenty to say in June about race in the United States.
"I think this country is going to come out of this as a better country and we're gonna continue to learn and grow. As far as racial injustices there's no room for racism," Allen said.
Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins took to Twitter in June to express his feelings about issues that are finally being dealt with nationwide.
"Black men are dying at the rate of an endangered species ... to be endangered ... until you're a black man in America, you won't know what that feels like," he said.
And veteran cornerback Josh Norman, alongside New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis, spoke in June at a police reform event with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
"We must look at ourselves in the mirror as public servants and ask, 'Am I doing all that I could for the community?' " Norman said.
Norman and Davis have talked with people nationwide about issues involving race, and Buffalo was the most recent stop.
Norman pleaded for people to "bridge all gaps, all colors, all barriers."
"Things must change. They must change," Norman said. "to blot out all the transgressions of the past, we have an opportunity."