October 21, 2020 – Atlanta, GA - The Atlanta Falcons will don their new alternate gradient uniform for the first time against the Detroit Lions this Sunday. The gradient uniform, also known as the "Rise Up" alternate uniform was designed to represent a city constantly on the rise while also paying homage to the next generation of Falcons fans. This year, the new look took on additional meaning as the Falcons organization, together with the player-led social justice committee, deemed the Oct. 25 game the "RISE UP and VOTE" game as a moment to shine a spotlight on the importance of exercising their voice and democratic right to vote.
In 2017, Falcons owner, Arthur Blank engaged players in dialogue geared toward addressing critical issues and creating a positive impact in the city of Atlanta. With Blank's support, Falcons players created the social justice committee to identify issues most important to them and to put plans together toward progress.
For decades, voting has been a priority for the Falcons and voter registration has been included as part of player onboarding and the Falcons Rookie U program for the past 15 years. This season, the social justice committee made voter awareness its top priority. "This isn't the time to sit on the sidelines, you must use your voice and vote," said Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. The team has always been diligent in promoting the need to vote, but this year, the team made a concerted effort, along with the National Football League, to provide information on the process including awareness, education and encouraging active participation on the local, state and national levels.
In April, the Atlanta Falcons unveiled new uniforms as part of a comprehensive redesign for the first time in 17 years. The gradient pattern was designed as a visual representation of the team's long-standing "Rise Up" mantra; a reflection of Atlanta's progression using the gradient pattern rising from black to red using the eye in the Falcon logo. The urgency of this week given the upcoming election, veteran defensive end Steven Means said: "Taking this moment and making it a movement, not just as a race, a community or a team, but as a nation… it's time to rise up and vote."
The most in-depth look at the Atlanta Falcons new uniforms.
"Atlanta is a special place, where similarities as well as differences ultimately create a common bond among its citizens," says Rich McKay, President and CEO, Atlanta Falcons. "In the spirit of one of our core values, Lead by Example, we are proud that our players are so passionate about voting and bringing awareness and encouragement to our communities throughout the state of Georgia to actively participate in our democracy."
Lead Up to Game Day:
In the spirit of unity and using their platforms for good, Ryan and and Falcons safety Ricardo Allen, will come together with Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford and safety Duron Harmon for a virtual panel discussion on the importance of voting and the need for social justice reform moderated by former Falcon receiver Harry Douglas. The two quarterbacks, both with ties to Georgia, have been vocal about fighting for social justice with each contributing more than $1M respectively to the cause.
The RISE UP and VOTE game will feature both on-field elements and in-game experiences geared towards democracy and voting. For each home game this season, the players have chosen iconic Atlantans that have embodied the ideals of using your voice for good as honorary captains of the games. Past recipients include the late Congressman John Lewis, the late Reverend C.T. Vivian and the late Reverend Joseph E. Lowery.
For the Oct. 25 game, the players from both teams have named the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary civil rights leader from Atlanta, Honorary Captain of the game. Additionally, his daughter, Rev. Bernice King will pull the iconic Train Horn prior to kick-off.
The field will feature the Falcons' RISE UP and VOTE logo on the 25-yard lines and each endzone will feature the unique gradient pattern matching the Falcons' uniform and as a symbol to all fans to RISE UP and VOTE.
"Sport is a powerful way to inspire and encourage fans and I'm proud of the way our players, our entire organization and these two teams have come together around voting," said Morgan Shaw Parker, chief marketing officer, Atlanta Falcons.
"The Rise Up gradient uniform design was always bigger than just an alternate look. It embodies the essence of our city and signifies our strength as a community. Atlanta has risen and triumphed through adversity and as our honorary leaders from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to John Lewis and many others we honor every day have shown us, we will never stop using our voice and our collective platforms for good."
Matt Ryan, Ricardo Allen, Calvin Ridley, Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones suited up in the new Falcons uniforms for the first time.