How NFL national anthem protests have evolved since Kaepernick


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Colin Kaepernick’s resolution to sit down through the nationwide anthem forward of a preseason sport in 2016 sparked a surge of NFL protests throughout the nation.

Since then, gamers have sat, kneeled and even bowed their heads in prayer as The Star-Spangled Banner echoes all through stadiums.

Kaepernick mentioned he was utilizing his silence to protest towards police brutality and racial injustice. It did not take lengthy for gamers throughout the nation to comply with his lead.

However not everybody has been supportive of the motion.

President Trump made his place clear from the start.

A soccer area will not be the place to stage a protest, Trump has argued on a number of events, particularly one which entails “disrespecting” the American flag and the nation’s veterans.

Have a look again on the NFL nationwide anthem protests to see how they grew from a one-man protest to a nationwide motion.

March 2018

Two NFL brokers informed the Houston Chronicle on March four that the Houston Texans are usually not curious about gamers who participated in protests through the nationwide anthem.

There isn’t any official directive, however the brokers mentioned it is understood that the crew isn’t going to pursue anybody who participated within the protests, the paper reported.

The crew slammed the “categorically false” report days later, saying it was “with out benefit.”

“A current report that implies the Houston Texans wouldn’t signal a participant who has protested in assist of social justice points is categorically false and with out benefit. The Texans possession, teaching, personnel and government employees signal and rent workers based mostly on expertise, character and match inside our group,” the Texans responded in an announcement.


January 2018

New yr, identical argument.

As soon as once more, Trump known as out NFL gamers for kneeling, retweeting a meme that depicted a widow laying on a soldier’s grave. “Present this image to the NFL gamers who nonetheless kneel,” Trump posted on Jan. four.

Trump additionally took a refined swipe on the NFL throughout his first State of the Union tackle on Jan. 31.

He did not point out the NFL by identify, however he did thank one among his particular friends, 12-year-old Preston Sharp, for reminding People why it is necessary to face for the nationwide anthem.

The boy from Redding, California, began the Flag and Flower Problem in 2015 and has helped facilitate the position of greater than 40,000 American flags and flowers on veterans’ graves.

“Preston’s reverence for individuals who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our fingers on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the nationwide anthem,” Trump mentioned.

Former NFL operating again Herschel Walker weighed in on the protests on Feb. 2, two days earlier than Tremendous Bowl LII. 

The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner accused the NFL of primarily giving out “hush cash” to forestall gamers from taking a knee.

“The league gave the gamers a big sum of cash towards their trigger. That is hush cash,” he informed Fox and Buddies. “Guys ought to have been standing on the very starting.”

Walker mentioned the league wants “good management” to place an finish to the nationwide anthem protests as soon as and for all, including that he would not consider Kaepernick would have protested if he was beginning quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, relatively than the backup, through the 2016 season.

“There isn’t any doubt black lives matter, however I do not suppose you’ll be able to protest in your job,” Walker mentioned. “Your First Modification proper ought to be, ‘I wish to stand for our navy.'”

November 2017

Lynch took a special strategy whereas protesting the nationwide anthem throughout a Nov. 19, 2017 sport towards the New England Patriots at Azteca Stadium in Mexico Metropolis.

He sat through the Star-Spangled Banner — however when the Mexican nationwide anthem performed, he was again on his ft.

Trump shared his disapproval on Twitter, requesting that Lynch be suspended for the transfer.

“Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits all the way down to boos for our Nationwide Anthem. Nice disrespect!” Trump tweeted. “Subsequent time NFL ought to droop him for the rest of the season. Attendance and rankings means down.”

Ten days later, the NFL introduced a dedication to donate $90 million to social justice causes throughout the next seven years in response to nationwide anthem demonstrations.

”The NFL’s work will embody packages and initiatives that scale back obstacles to alternative, with a precedence on supporting enhancements in schooling, group/police relations and our felony justice system,” Anna Isaacson, the league’s vp for social duty, wrote in a memo obtained by The Related Press. “Further focus areas embrace poverty, racial equality and workforce growth.”

October 2017

Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a sport between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. eight, 2017, after a number of gamers took a knee through the nationwide anthem.

“I left right this moment’s Colts sport as a result of @POTUS and I can’t dignify any occasion that disrespects our troopers, our Flag, or our Nationwide Anthem,” Pence tweeted shortly after exiting the stadium.

On Oct. 10, 2017, Goodell despatched a letter to the NFL’s homeowners about the potential for a rule change that might drive gamers to face through the nationwide anthem.

“The present dispute over the Nationwide Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying energy of our sport, and is now dividing us, and our gamers, from many followers throughout the nation,” Goodell wrote, noting that he respects gamers’ proper to free speech. “We wish to honor our flag and our nation, and our followers count on that of us.”

“We won’t have the inmates operating the jail,” Houston Texans proprietor Bob McNair mentioned throughout a closed assembly of NFL homeowners and executives to debate nationwide anthem protests.

McNair later apologized after receiving backlash for the comment.

“I remorse that I used that expression,” he mentioned in an announcement. “I by no means meant to offend anybody and I used to be not referring to our gamers.”

September 2017

On Sept. 22, 2017, Trump blasted NFL gamers for kneeling through the nationwide anthem, which, he mentioned, reveals a “complete disrespect” for the American flag. Trump steered those that kneel ought to lose their spot on the crew.

“Would not you like to see one among these NFL homeowners, when anyone disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b**** off the sphere proper now – he is fired,'” Trump mentioned at a rally for then-Senator Luther Unusual in Alabama. “You already know, some proprietor’s going to do this.”

Goodell launched an announcement the subsequent day, saying Trump’s feedback demonstrated a “lack of respect” for the league.

Two days after Trump’s remarks, three NFL groups — the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers — stayed of their locker rooms through the nationwide anthem.

Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive sort out for the Steelers, did not be part of his teammates. As an alternative, the participant (a former Military ranger) stood outdoors the tunnel alone along with his hand over his coronary heart because the anthem performed.

Villanueva later regretted the transfer and apologized for “unintentionally” throwing his teammates beneath the bus.

“I made my teammates look unhealthy, and that’s my fault, and my fault solely,” Villanueva informed reporters throughout a information convention. “We as a crew tried to determine it out, however clearly butchered it.”

Trump mentioned he felt compelled to talk out towards the NFL protests on Sept. 26, 2017, after visiting injured troopers at Walter Reed Nationwide Army Medical Middle in Bethesda, Md.

“They had been preventing for our flag, they had been preventing for our nationwide anthem,” Trump mentioned throughout a press convention on the White Home. “For individuals to disrespect that by kneeling through the taking part in of our nationwide anthem I feel is disgraceful.”

NFL gamers had been fast to reply.

Greater than a dozen gamers with the Cleveland Browns kneeled and bowed their heads in silent prayer when the anthem was performed forward of a preseason sport towards the New York Giants on Sept. 29, 2017.

The protest was the biggest the NFL had seen since Kaepernick kicked off the pattern the earlier season.

August 2017

It was a photograph shared throughout the online: Marshawn Lynch — at his first sport on Aug. 12, 2017, as an Oakland Raider — sitting on an orange cooler along with his elbows resting on his knees as his teammates stood round him through the nationwide anthem.

A day later, Seattle Seahawks defensive finish Michael Bennett sat on the bench as his teammates linked arms through the nationwide anthem earlier than their sport towards the Los Angeles Chargers.

Whereas Seahawks and Raiders gamers stood for the nationwide anthem, Seattle nook again Jeremy Lane opted to sit down.

 (Tony Avelar/AP Photograph)

September 2016

In a present of assist, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane joined Kaepernick on the bench forward of a Sept. 1, 2016, preseason sport towards the Oakland Raiders.

“I similar to what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him,” Lane informed ESPN. “It’s one thing I plan on carry on doing, till I really feel like justice is being served.”

The subsequent day, San Francisco 49ers security Eric Reid dropped to 1 knee to protest racial injustice and police brutality alongside Kaepernick through the nationwide anthem on the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

The teammates had been met with boos from the group as a naval officer sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” whereas dozens of navy members rolled out an American flag throughout the sphere.

On Sept. eight, 2016, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed reporters he disagreed with Kaepernick’s resolution to kneel through the nationwide anthem, however mentioned he needed to respect the participant’s proper to protest.

“I do not essentially agree with what he’s doing,” Goodell informed The Related Press by way of e-mail. “I assist our gamers after they wish to see change in society, and we do not dwell in an ideal society. Alternatively, we consider very strongly in patriotism within the NFL. I personally consider very strongly in that.”

The protests solely continued to develop within the following days.

Kansas Metropolis cornerback Marcus Peters raised a black-gloved fist, 4 Miami Dolphins — Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Jenkins and Kenny Stills — kneeled with fingers on their hearts, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee and New England’s Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty each held up their proper arms through the nationwide anthem on Sept. 11, 2016.

A number of different groups, together with the Chiefs and Seahawks, additionally noticed gamers hyperlink arms when the anthem was performed.

August 2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick held his first silent nationwide anthem protest on Aug. 14, 2016 throughout his first preseason sport towards the Houston Texans. 

Two weeks later, on Aug. 26, 2016, Kaepernick made headlines for sitting through the nationwide anthem earlier than his preseason debut towards the Inexperienced Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.’s Jennifer Lee Chan was one of many first reporters to seize a photograph of Kaepernick sitting through the nationwide anthem. Mike Garafolo, a reporter for the NFL Community, was fast to level out it wasn’t the NFL participant’s first protest.

For the primary time, on Aug. 27, 2016, Kaepernick, who was competing with Blaine Gabbert for the 49ers’ beginning quarterback place on the time, defined why he refused to face through the anthem.

“In the event that they take soccer away, my endorsements from me, I do know that I stood up for what is true.”

– Colin Kaepernick

“I’m not going to face up to take pride in a flag for a rustic that oppresses black individuals and folks of shade,” Kaepernick informed “To me, that is larger than soccer and it might be egocentric on my half to look the opposite means. There are our bodies on the street and folks getting paid go away and getting away with homicide.”

Kaepernick made it clear that he knew what he was doing and the NFL star mentioned he deliberate to proceed protesting – even when that meant jeopardizing his soccer profession.

“This isn’t one thing that I’m going to run by anyone,” he mentioned. “I’m not in search of approval. I’ve to face up for those who are oppressed…In the event that they take soccer away, my endorsements from me, I do know that I stood up for what is true.”

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