Advertisement

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

Martin Luther King Jr. III, third from right, stands with his wife, Arndrea Waters King, second from right, and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King, center right, as they serve as Tampa Bay Buccaneers honoree captains during the coin toss with Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) and Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) prior to an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. Officials looking on are back judge Greg Steed (12), second from left, and referee Adrian Hill. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Martin Luther King III, third from right, stands with his wife, Arndrea Waters King, second from right, and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King, center right, as they serve as honoree captains during the coin toss for Monday's Bucs-Eagles playoff game. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

TAMPA, Fla. — On the 95th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the NFL celebrated King’s legacy with his family in attendance.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted King’s son, Martin Luther King III, daughter-in-law Arndrea Waters King and granddaughter Yolanda Renee King for the team’s wild-card playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

This was the first time that King III and his family had joined an NFL game in commemoration of King Jr.

“When we think about what my dad wanted to see in our nation, certainly he wanted to eradicate what he defined were the triple evils: poverty, racism and violence,” King III said. “But he also believed in civility and being together. We could disagree without being disagreeable. Unfortunately, our nation is at a divided point.

“That’s sort of why football games and championships are so important — because they bring people together from every walk of life. “

The Kings held a news conference before the game to discuss their initiative to unite Americans with 100 million hours of service over the next five years leading to King’s 100th birthday.

Yolanda Renee King published a book this month in honor of her grandparents.

“It’s a children’s book. I like to say it’s for big kids, too, meaning adults,” the 15-year-old said. “It’s a book about the type of world we can have and sharing the dream that was shared to us 60 years ago.

“We see the legacy but we actually forget how to live it. So with this service initiative and with this book, we hope to inspire people, to show people what a world without racism looks like, what a world without poverty looks like.”

The King family took the field before kickoff as honorary coin toss captains.

Helmets at all six playoff games included “MLK” and “Be Love” decals, the latter painted onto an end zone outline opposite “It Takes All of Us” paint.