Amanda Gorman, the inauguration’s break out star, will perform an original poem before the Super Bowl to honor three heroes the NFL tapped as honorary captains for their service throughout the pandemic.
Gorman, 22, became the nation’s youngest inaugural poet laureate when she recited her poem The Hill We Climb during the ceremony last week. She received widespread praise — with people like Oprah Winfrey, Stacey Abrams and Lin-Manuel Miranda offering congratulations — for addressing the country’s fraught racial history and social justice progress while hoping for a better tomorrow.
She will recite a poem before the Feb. 7 showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to honor Trimaine Davis, an educator, Suzie Dorner, a nurse, and James Martin, a Marine veteran. The trio embodies the NFL’s message of “it takes all of us,” Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday.
The NFL has faced backlash over its reaction to players who began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality. Since then, the league has created social justice coalitions and donated to racial equity organizations. Goodell last summer addressed the missteps the league took in particular with then-San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, who led the protests and was essentially shut out of the sport afterward.
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” he said.
Gorman’s inaugural poem pays homage to the often uncomfortable work done by social justice movements, saying, “We’ve braved the belly of the beast/We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace/And the norms and notions of what just is/Isn’t always just-ice.”