Several dozen NFL players, fewer than last week, chose to sit or kneel during the U.S. national anthem at the start of games on Sunday, a day after President Donald Trump again demanded an end to a protest he sees as a sign of disrespect for the flag.
The symbolic gesture, initiated last year by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, snowballed last week following calls by Trump for team owners to fire athletes who sat out the anthem.
While Miami Dolphins players Julius Thomas, Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills knelt during the anthem, New Orleans Saints players, coaches, and staff knelt before the start of the national anthem but stood in unison once it began at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Sources inform The Houston Texans’ Jurrell Casey, Wesley Woodyard, Brian Orakpo and DaQuan Jones raised a fist while Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews was not on the field for the anthem. He came out of the tunnel after it ended.
Nine Cleveland Browns players, including LB Christian Kirksey, raised their right arms with closed fists.
Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Robert Quinn also raised his right fist before the Rams-Cowboys game. Punter Johnny Hekker had his arm around him.
The Rams played the Dallas Cowboys, who returned to their usual pregame configuration: all standing along their sideline, but without arms linked. Last week Dallas kneeled in unison before “The Star-Spangled Banner” then stood, arms linked, for the song.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, as promised, stood on the sideline during the national anthem after watching from the tunnel last week in Chicago. With the exception of center Ryan Jensen and guard Matt Skura, the Baltimore Ravens all took a knee on the field before the national anthem and received boos from many in the crowd. The team then stood on the sideline after the music started.
Two members of the Detroit Lions—Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa—knelt during the national anthem.
Their opponents, the Minnesota Vikings — save for Jerick McKinnon — locked arms and stood for the anthem, the report said. McKinnon reportedly stood behind the sideline.
The New England Patriots stood with their right hands over their hearts, and their left hands on their teammate’s shoulders, the Times reported. During the game, Carolina Panthers quarterback raised a fist after a touchdown, according to sources.
In Seattle, several members of the Seahawks sat out the national anthem, while their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts, linked arms along the sidelines.
Critics including Trump object to any protest, regardless of its merits, during a ceremony meant to honor the flag and military veterans.
A week ago, demonstrations were organized across the NFL in response to President Donald Trump’s criticism of players who kneel during the national anthem. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Shad Khan was the first owner to join his players before the game, standing arm-in-arm with them.
Donald Trump tweeted on 1st October “ Very important that NFL players STAND, tomorrow, and always, gor the playing of our National Anthem, Respect our Flag and our Country”
Some on the Saints’ sideline stood arm-in-arm on Sunday, and others had their hands over their hearts. On the Dolphins’ sideline, only tight end Julius Thomas, safety Michael Thomas and wide receiver Kenny Stills remained on one knee while Darius Rucker sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”