Joe Buck on NFL's new approach to racial protests: 'It was time'

NFL games will feature a number of social justice messages this season

Fox Sports lead announcer Joe Buck previewed the new NFL season, which starts Sunday, and discussed how the league is enabling players to protest against racial injustice during games.

Players are now allowed to peacefully protest the national anthem, will be permitted to have decals on their helmets featuring the names of victims of violence, and end zones will feature phrases such as "End Racism" -- a far cry from when Colin Kaepernick sparked a firestorm of controversy when he took a knee during the anthem in 2016.

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"It was time before 2020 [season] to make that change," Buck told "Fox News Sunday," saying that current events led to the new approach. "I think this has been something that has been brewing since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee. The league had the reaction that they had four years ago and now I think the conversation’s entirely different with what’s going on during the calendar year of 2020. So I think it’s a necessary conversation for people within the NFL to have. It’s the right thing to do. I think these players are more and more finding their voice to try to force change in society and so good for them."

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Buck also addressed his own difficulty when it comes to figuring out his role in the conversation as a commentator.

"You know as we do these games, the question always becomes how much time do you have in-game to really cover what’s going on," he said. "Let’s say during the national anthem or before the game. You have to cover it, it should be covered, it should be talked about, and then you  go back to the next play.”

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most games will not have any fans in attendance, but Buck said that television production techniques such as simulated crowd noise and visuals will allow home viewers to have an experience similar to past seasons.

"I think the feel of the game at home will be largely what people are used to," he said.