The protest count for the NFL’s early games is going in the wrong direction. Last week, five NFL players protested during the playing of the national anthem during the league’s early slate of action.
This week seven players decided to protest, though, not all of protested the same way.
Eagles safeties Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins raised their fists in protest. Dolphins players Kenny stills, Julius Thomas, and Michael Thomas, knelt prior to taking on the Patriots. While Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters and Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews stayed off the field until the anthem was over.
With Seattle and San Francisco scheduled to play each other in an afternoon game, one can expect at least seven more protests before the day is through.
The NFL has experienced a rash of anthem protests beginning in the preseason of 2016, and continuing all the way up until Week 12 of this year. The protests, begun by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have tapered off greatly in the last two months.
The demonstrations hit an all-time high in Week 3, after President Trump called protesting players “SOB’s,” and said he wished their team owners would fire them. That weekend, over 300 NFL players protested in some form or fashion. However, during Week 11, only about a dozen players protested during the anthem.
Papa John’s, the official pizza of the NFL has voiced concerns over how the protests have negatively impacted their business.
Yet, despite all this, Roger Goodell has steadfastly maintained that he will not order NFL players to stand for the anthem. Though, some eyebrows were raised last week when the Washington Post reported that the league would consider a new rule at the end of the year that would keep teams in the locker room during the anthem.
Prior to 2009, NFL teams used to remain in the locker room during the anthem at every game. That only changed after a CBA rule change was added, which required players to be on the sideline for the playing of the national anthem.