Matt Stafford and Deshaun Watson Kneel During Anthem Before Thanksgiving Game

Matt Stafford
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford both took a knee during the playing of the national anthem on Thanksgiving Day.

The Lions and the Texans are playing the first of a scheduled two-game slate of NFL action on Thanksgiving Day. Though, before any action took place on the field, Stafford and Watson were spotted kneeling during the anthem.

Stafford revealed why he chose to protest during the anthem back in September.

“Just felt like it was the right thing at the right time,” he said in September via MLive. “Obviously it’s been an amazing offseason just for our team, for a lot of people, something where there’s been great opportunity for growth and learning and understanding, and just felt like it was the right thing for me.”

Despite the relative lack of publicity the protests drew in 2016 and 2017, anthem protests have been a constant throughout the year. However, as the league’s television ratings began to suffer, networks stopped broadcasting the protests, and beat reporters stopped tweeting photos of the protests.

The league has embraced the player protests with public shows of support from Commissioner Roger Goodell, hundreds of millions of dollars spent on social justice issues, and social justice-themed commercials and on-field messaging.


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