National Anthem Protests Stall in NFL’s Week Two

at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The anti-American protests during the playing of the national anthem in the NFL slowed in Week Two as only a handful of players refused to rise during the song.

San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick, of course, continued his revolt against honoring the country during the anthem. He again took a knee during the song as the 49ers faced the Carolina Panthers. Teammate Eric Reid joined Kaepernick once again, ESPN reported. Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall and three Miami Dolphins also knelt during the anthem this weekend.

But most of the players who continued the protest by either sitting, kneeling, or raising the militant black liberation fist during the anthem had done so last week. Only a few new players joined the protest, and even then only by raising a fist, showing that the spread of the protests may have slowed.

Some stood but protested with their hands. On Monday night in Chicago, Philadelphia Eagles defensive players Malcolm Jenkins, Ron Brooks, and Steven Means raised fists. San Diego Chargers offensive linemen Joe Barksdale and Chris Hariston also raised fists in the air during “The Star Spangled Banner” on Sunday.

Meanwhile, some of the players who protested in Week One did not follow up in Week Two. Miami Dolphins Linebacker Jelani Jenkins, for one, did not take a knee during the song as he did in Week One. Ditto for Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks. Additionally, none of the Kansas City Chiefs indulged in any sideline clenched-fist antics for Week Two unlike Week One. Similarly, Los Angeles Rams receiver Kenny Britt did not join teammate Robert Quinn by raising a defiant fist during the anthem.

The networks seemed less interested in covering the protests this week. Michael McCarthy asked at Sporting News, “If NFL players protest, and the league’s TV partners don’t cover it on national TV, will their message be heard?” Another Sporting News writer sympathetic to Kaepernick’s protest recognized that the sideline gestures now “fall on deaf ears” and “the Kaepernick conversation has jumped the shark.”

With no new players joining the kneel-down strike some wonder if peak protest has been reached in the NFL. But even as the protests in football may be slowing, at least one player is warning that protests may be headed to the NBA. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Victor Oladipo said last week that he thought there was “no question” that some in the NBA would be joining the protest against the country during the anthem in the upcoming basketball season.

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