NFL celebrates Martin Luther King’s 95th birthday with King family at Bucs-Eagles game

TAMPA, Fla. — The NFL marked the 95th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. by honoring his legacy in the presence of his family. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played host to King’s son, Martin Luther King III, daughter-in-law Arndrea Waters King, and granddaughter Yolanda Renee King during the team’s wild-card playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, January 15, 2024, Martin Luther King Jr III speak to the press during Martin Luther King’s Day before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles game at Raymond James Stadium. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

This occasion marked the first time that King III and his family participated in an NFL game in remembrance of King Jr.

King III reflected on his father’s vision for the nation, emphasizing the desire to eliminate what King Jr. identified as the “triple evils”: poverty, racism, and violence. Additionally, King III highlighted his father’s belief in civility and unity, expressing concern over the current divisive state of the nation.

In a pre-game news conference, the Kings discussed their initiative to unite Americans through 100 million hours of service over the next five years, leading up to King’s 100th birthday.

Yolanda Renee King, the 15-year-old granddaughter, recently published a children’s book in honor of her grandparents. Describing it as suitable for both children and adults, she explained that the book envisions a world without racism and poverty, aiming to inspire people to live the legacy shared with them 60 years ago.

The King family assumed the role of honorary coin toss captains, taking the field before kickoff. The helmets in all six playoff games featured “MLK” and “Be Love” decals, with the latter displayed on an end zone opposite the “It Takes All of Us” paint, underscoring the significance of football games and championships in bringing people together from diverse backgrounds.

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