Four years after Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and racial injustice, NFL players and teams once again used the platform to make statements.
On Sunday’s opening round of games for Week 1, the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars remained off the field for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Houston Texans became the first team to stay in the locker room for both the anthem in Thursday’s kickoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. They also did not take the field for “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which the NFL said this offseason would be played before every game in the opening weekend.
The Dolphins announced Thursday they would not be on the field for either song.
“Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “We’ll just stay inside.”
Several players from the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings took a knee during the anthem, as did Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Colts said, “We were not protesting the flag, the anthem, or the men and women who wear the uniform. The timing of this action is meant to highlight that the presence, power and oppression of racism remains inconsistent with the unity and freedoms of what it means to be an American.”
After the Seahawks kicked off to the Atlanta Falcons, all players on the field took a knee.