NFL Players Use Weekend Games To Reaffirm Their Right To Protest On The Field

Fans and activists voiced their support online with #TakeTheKnee.

A weekend of national rhetoric that had politicians and news outlets calling for the boycott of the NFL over players who take a knee during the national anthem seemed to only reaffirm the intention of teams and owners across the league to stand with their teammates who take such actions when the majority of games Sunday began with demonstrations of solidarity. 

The protests began in London when 27 players and staff on the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars knelt during the national anthem while others, including team owner Shahid Khan, linked arms. In Detroit, Rico Lavelle knelt and raised a fist after singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." In Chicago, all but one player on the Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room for the duration of the song. 

Player Colin Kaepernick made waves in 2016 when he started kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality and racial injustice in the U.S. Others in the league and in other sports followed suit by taking a knee or raising a fist during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

Over the weekend, fans and activists voiced their support for Kaepernick and other demonstrations across the NFL with #TakeTheKnee.

"It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium," Khan said in a statement. "Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms – race, faith, our views and our goals. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder. That's why it was important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation."


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