The National Football League will be paying its respects this Sunday to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The league announced on Friday that current President Barack Obama and former commander in chief George W. Bush will both take part in the events that commemorate the 15th anniversary of the devastating attacks that killed 2,977 innocent people.
The 1:00 pm ET game between the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles in Philly will include Vice President Joe Biden hosting 120 first responders.
Bush will be at the Cowboys and New York Giants game in Dallas with wife and former first lady Laura Bush. They will join two NYPD police officers who responded to the attacks in New York City to toss the coin.
President Obama will take part in multiple video messages prior to the playing of the national anthem in various venues around the NFL.
In addition to all this, the NFL Network will air a one-hour special focusing on the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Friday evening. Both Bush and Obama will take part in that televised special.
This all comes with the NFL itself facing a controversy of massive proportions. Led by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, multiple players have decided to remain seated or take a knee during the national anthem.
It remains to be seen if those who are protesting inequality in the United States will use the 15th anniversary of 9/11 as a platform for said protests. Though, the Seattle Seahawks are reportedly planning something big (more on that here).
If these protests were to continue on the anniversary of 9/11, it’s more than likely the controversy would be taken up another gear — likely leading to widespread backlash from the American public.
Imagine a member of the Cowboys or Giants sitting for the anthem immediately prior to two first responders taking part in the coin toss. That most definitely wouldn’t be a good look for the NFL.