Dozens of demonstrators from civil rights groups on Friday gathered outside the NFL headquarters in Manhattan to protest the league’s newly announced ban kneeling during the national anthem.
The protest was organized by the NAACP, the Justice League of New York City, the National Action Network and the Women’s March. Participants carried signs and chanted as they called for the NFL to rescind its ban.
Some carried jerseys or wore clothing featuring NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick, who started the movement in the NFL by kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season as a way to protest police brutality and police inequality.
Jumaane Williams, a New York City Council member and candidate for lieutenant governor of New York, wore a t-shirt saying “#ImWithKap” to the protest.
The NFL on Wednesday announced the new policy, which would fine teams whose players take part in the on-field protests. The move comes after the protests became a major focal point during the 2017 season, including President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE repeatedly criticizing the league and calling for owners to fire players who knelt during the anthem.
Trump sparked more backlash this week after he praised the new ban, saying that players who protest “shouldn't be in the country.”
Tamika Mallory, a co-founder of the Women’s March, spoke at Friday’s protest, saying the NFL is “complicit in the oppression of black and brown people” with the ban.
“I’m not here to talk to the NFL,” Mallory said. “They have already drawn a line in the sand and they have doubled-down on us. The question is, what are we prepared to do?”
“This is not about the flag, this is not about an anthem ... this is about the loss of life, the brutality of black and brown young women,” she added.