Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

NFL and Detroit Lions Storylines to Watch as Season Gets Underway

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Detroit News sports columnist John Niyo talks about the Lions’ prospects, as well as how the league is addressing the pandemic and racial justice issues.

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NFL football is back. Here in Detroit, the season had a rocky start. On Sunday, the Lions played poorly for three quarters against the San Fransisco 49ers. Despite finally coming alive in the fourth quarter, the Lions still lost 41-33. But low expectations for the perpetually lackluster Lions is just one issue facing the team. There are many challenges ahead for both the franchise and the NFL as a whole.

”It’s something that the NFL and all of these leagues are going to have to grapple with in how far are they are going to go in requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests.” —John Niyo, The Detroit News

The league is in its second season dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. And issues of racial justice — although not in the spotlight as much as in years past — are still a focus of many of the league’s detractors. 


Listen: Detroit News sports columnist John Niyo talks about the new NFL season.


Guest

John Niyo is a sports columnist for The Detroit News. He says this year feels different than last because stadiums are packed with fans, and many of them are not wearing masks or distancing.

It’s awkward and it’s jarring,” he says. ”It’s something that the NFL and all of these leagues are going to have to grapple with in how far are they are going to go in requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests.”

Niyo says, “there’s much less pressure being felt on all sides,” related to issues of social justice and racial justice this season. He says that might be partly because there’s a new president in the White House who is not interested in politicizing the NFL the way President Trump did during his tenure in office. And he notes that some time has passed since the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the height of the controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem.


Related: Detroit Lions Hit the Reset Button in 2021 With New Coach, GM and Quarterback


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