NFL national anthem protests continue during final week of regular season
More than a dozen NFL players protested during or right after the national anthem on Sunday, the final weekend of the league’s regular season.
Nine Seattle Seahawks players sat or knelt during the anthem prior to the team’s game, as they have throughout the season. Michael Bennett, Marcus Smith, Frank Clark, Dion Jordan and others were among those demonstrating, The Associated Press reported.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews remained off the field during the national anthem before his team’s game, while his teammates, Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey, raised their fists once the anthem ended.
Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins also knelt while the anthem played prior to his team’s game.
San Francisco 49ers players Reuben Foster, Marquise Goodwin, Louis Murphy and Eric Reid all knelt during the anthem before their team’s game, according to the AP.
Reid, who has protested prior to each 49ers game this season, said in a recent interview that he understands teams might not sign him in the coming offseason because of his decision to kneel during the anthem.
“The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that,” Reid told ESPN.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the first player to kneel during the 2016 season, has not been signed by a team this season.
NFL players have protested social justice issues, such as police brutality, since the 2016 season, either kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem. The issue was brought into the spotlight again at the beginning of the season, when President Trump suggested those taking a knee should be fired.
Players have been spotted protesting each week since Trump’s remarks, and the president has continued his criticism of the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing the protests to continue without punishment.
–This report was updated on Jan. 1 at 6:24 a.m.