NFL Players Continue Peaceful Protests In Defiance Of Trump

Eline Gordts

NFL players across the country on Sunday continued peaceful demonstrations, kneeling or locking arms in defiance of President Donald Trump’s repeated calls on team owners and fans to crack down on athletes protesting during the national anthem. 

But following a week of heated public debate about the protests fueled by none other than the president himself, the movement seems to be losing momentum among some teams.

Demonstrations on Sunday appeared to be primarily aimed at displaying solidarity between football players, owners and fans, and defending athletes’ right to free speech, rather than explicitly drawing attention to racial injustice and police brutality in the United States ― the initial goal of the protest movement. 

Here is a list of players and teams who demonstrated during Sunday’s games to kick off the fourth week of the regular season: 

SAINTS vs. DOLPHINS

Three Miami Dolphins players knelt during the national anthem, in contrast to last weekend’s game against the New York Jets, when the entire Dolphins team stood with arms locked together. 

The entire New Orleans Saints team stood on Sunday. Last weekend, nearly a dozen Saints players remained seated on a bench during the anthem.  

PANTHERS vs. PATRIOTS:

Both the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers stood for the anthem.

Last weekend, 17 Patriots players opted to take a knee. All but one of the Panthers’ players stood during the anthem. Defensive end Julius Peppers opted to stay off the field.

JAGUARS vs. JETS:

The New York Jets stood with arms locked during the anthem. Joining them was team owner Christopher Johnson.

Several players were seen kneeling on the field before the anthem played.

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee as a team before the anthem played. In a statement released before the game, the team said they would kneel in prayer “for change, progress and equality for everyone who calls the United States their homes.”

Once the anthem played, they stood with their arms locked together.

Last week, about a dozen Jaguar players knelt during the anthem in London. Others stood arm-in-arm, two of the players with team owner Shahid Khan. 

TITANS vs. TEXANS:

All but one of the Tennessee Titans stood for the anthem. Missing wide receiver Richard Matthews had said that he would kneel during the anthem until President Trump apologized for remarks he made last week against NFL players.

Last week, the Titans decided to remain in their locker room during the anthem. Their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, did the same.

The Houston Texans all stood during the anthem on Sunday, but with arms linked together. They took the same stance during last weekend’s game against the New England Patriots. 

STEELERS vs. RAVENS

The Baltimore Ravens stood during the anthem on Sunday but took a knee in prayer just before, which prompted boos from the stadium.

The team prayed “that we as a nation embrace kindness, unity, equality and justice for all Americans,” according to The Associated Press.

Last weekend, several Ravens players took a knee during the anthem, joining at least a dozen Jacksonville Jaguars players.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also chose to stand for the anthem on Sunday, in contrast to last week’s game when all but one of the players decided to stay in their locker room during the anthem. The lone player who ventured out onto the field, Alejandro Villanueva, later said he did so by mistake.

BENGALS vs. BROWNS

At least nine Cleveland Browns players raised their right fists during the anthem before facing off against the Cincinnati Bengals, but both teams remained standing. Last week, 22 Browns players knelt before their game against the Indianapolis Colts, and a majority of the Bengals players stood with linked arms before their game against the Green Bay Packers.

Jalen Reeves-Maybinof the Detroit Lions and teammate Steve Longa take a knee during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

LIONS vs. VIKINGS

Two Detroit Lions linebackers, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa, took a knee on Sunday for the second week in a row while their teammates stood with locked arms. Last week, six additional Lions players knelt during the anthem.

Many Minnesota Vikings linked arms during the anthem before playing against the Lions, but several players did not participate. The team held a similar demonstration last week.

RAMS vs. COWBOYS

All Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys players stood during the anthem before their game Sunday. Rams outside linebacker Robert Quinn raised his fist for a second week in a row, and Cowboys defensive end Damontre Moore also did so as the song ended. Last week, the Cowboys briefly took a knee before the anthem began.

BILLS vs. FALCONS

Six Buffalo Bills players took a knee during the anthem on Sunday, while their teammates and the majority of their opponents, Atlanta Falcons players, stood with their arms locked. Several Bills knelt last week, as did two Falcons.

EAGLES vs. CHARGERS:

Both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers stood during the anthem on Sunday.

The Eagles stood with locked arms during last weekend’s game against the New York Giants. The Chargers for the majority also stood with locked arms last weekend, with the exception of one player who took a knee and five others who remained seated.

THE 49ERS vs. CARDINALS

More than a dozen San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.

The team later tweeted out a video of the players standing and kneeling, all with their hands over their hearts. The caption read: “Together.” 

“For more than a year, members of our team have protested the oppression and social injustices still present in our society,” the team said in a statement. “While some may not have taken a knee or raised a fist, we have all shared the desire to influence positive change. Today, our team chose to publicly display our unity in a new way and, in turn, urge others to do the same.”

The Arizona Cardinals, similar to last weekend’s game, stood during the national anthem.

GIANTS vs. BUCCANEERS

For the second-straight Sunday, only one New York Giants player, Oliver Vernon, knelt during the national anthem, the New York Daily News reported. The rest of the team stood, two of them with their fists in the air. Last week, the entire Giants team, aside from Vernon, stood with linked arms.

The game’s anthem was not televised, with broadcaster Fox Sports earlier announcing that they would only air the anthem ahead of the day’s first Dolphins vs. Saints match in London.

The Giants’ opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stood normally during the anthem on Sunday. Last weekend, two of the team’s players knelt during the anthem as other teammates stood with linked arms.

RAIDERS vs. BRONCOS

The entire Oakland Raiders team, minus one player, stood during the national anthem on Sunday.

The missing player, running back Marshawn Lynch, chose to sit during the anthem. He made an earlier statement before the game by wearing an “everybody vs. Trump” T-shirt.

The majority of the Raiders either remained seated or took a knee during last weekend’s game. The Denver Broncos’ entire team stood for the national anthem. More than half of the team knelt last week.

COLTS vs. SEAHAWKS

While the majority of the Seattle Seahawks players stood for the anthem, a handful of players, including defensive ends Michael Bennett and Frank Clark, sat down.

The Seahawks organization did not participate in the anthem at all last week. Instead, the Seahawks announced on Friday that the team will launch a charity fund that will benefit education and leadership programs that fight inequality and promote justice. 

The Indianapolis Colts made a more subtle statement by standing with linked arms. 

Several Colts players kneeled during the anthem with locked arms last week, including receiver Matt Hazel, linebacker Jabaal Sheard and cornerback Rashaan Melvin. 

Trump himself invigorated a simmering protest movement when he called on NFL fans to pressure team owners into firing athletes who refused to stand during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans. 

The movement was spearheaded by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media last year. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he added. 

Last Friday in Alabama, Trump told his base the protests were an unpatriotic affront to the flag and the military. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,” Trump said at a rally. “Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” 

NFL players and team owners across the country took offense at the president’s remarks, rallying in solidarity with the protesting athletes.

Throughout all 28 NFL games played last Sunday, there were players, owners and staff participating in some sort of protest ― some athletes knelt during the anthem, many locked arms, a few teams even stayed in the locker room.

The response from fans was mixed. Some were disappointed athletes refused to stand for the anthem, booing them from the benches or on social media, while others applauded their bravery.

A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found 48 percent of Americans believe it’s inappropriate for NFL players to kneel during the anthem. Fifty-four percent disapprove of Trump’s response to the protests ― which has included a barrage of angry tweets ―with 42 percent strongly disapproving.

In the end, it was the Cowboys who first displayed the approach that many teams adopted this week. Together with owner Jerry Jones, team and staff took a knee in unison, but did so ahead of the anthem in Monday’s Cowboys-Cardinals game.

Among the many statements about the protests published by teams throughout the week, including the 49ers’ fresh remarks on “oppression and social injustices,” only the Seattle Seahawks have specifically called out racial divides. 

Other teams have addressed the subject of their protests in more general terms.

“The United States flag and our national anthem are both strong sources of inspiration and unity. Our respect for both is sincere,” the Jaguars said in a statement released Saturday. “Given recent events and remarks, however, we felt it was time last weekend to shine a light on the serious issues of inequality and social injustice that exist in our country.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.