No NFL players visibly kneel during season opener
© Getty

There were no visible demonstrations by NFL players during the national anthem before the season opener on Thursday night.

All of the Atlanta Falcons and most of the Philadelphia Eagles stood throughout the anthem, including players who have previously demonstrated, such as Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett wandered around the bench throughout the anthem and sat down near the end, but he did not kneel. 

Most of the players reportedly had their hands over the chests throughout the anthem.  

Last month, several Eagles players, including Jenkins, did not take the field during the national anthem at a preseason game, extending the ongoing protests by NFL players. Jenkins also raised his fist during the national anthem at a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Players have stated the protests are a stand against racial inequality and police brutality. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE has taken on the NFL protests as a lightning-rod political and cultural issue, claiming the NFL demonstrators are unpatriotic. 

Trump on Wednesday slammed the NFL and Nike after Nike featured free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its latest ad campaign. 

Kaepernick was the first to kneel during the national anthem to protest the treatment of people of color in the U.S. in 2016.

"Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts," Trump tweeted on Wednesday. "As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!"

Trump also briefly mentioned support for the flag during a rally in Billings, Mont., on Thursday night.

The NFL sought to end the controversy earlier this year with a policy that prevented players from protesting during the anthem. The policy was later frozen after the league fielded criticism from supporters and players.