The Texans and Chiefs joined arms and stood in the middle of the field for a “Moment of Unity,” prior to their season opening game on Thursday night.
Though, while the mood may have been warm and fuzzy on the field, the reaction from fans in the stands was anything but. The Chiefs were first in line since the Texans had gone to the locker room for the national anthem and the “black national anthem.” However, as the Texans began to join arms with the Chiefs, the boos began to rain down on the players.
Chiefs fans started booing while the Texans and Chiefs locked arms in unity. pic.twitter.com/Z0Ua6HlfsU
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 11, 2020
While no one can be sure, it’s entirely possible that a large number of Chiefs fans were not booing the “Moment of Unity” per se. But were instead specifically booing the Texans for having retreated into the locker room for the pregame ceremony and, just for being the opposing team. Or, because they’re sick of having politics intermingled with their sports.
Still, that plausible explanation did not prevent liberals on Twitter from lashing out at the fans for being “classless trash,” among other things.
The boos during the moment of unity should make it very clear that it was never about the flag or the anthem. Those people don't want racism to be challenged, regardless of the when, where or how.
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) September 11, 2020
Let’s boo a moment of unity, it’s never been about the anthem
— Jeff Allen (@JeffAllen71) September 11, 2020
— Kenny King Jr (@KennyKing_Jr) September 11, 2020
Some saw the booing as hypocritical.
Arrowhead: Boo the moment of unity but let me do a tomahawk chop.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) September 11, 2020
Some at ESPN just got downright mean about it.
I would LOVE to see an interview with someone–ANYONE–in the crowd who just chose to boo a "moment of silence and unity."
Just try not to sound like a complete and utter idiot putting into words why you're angry about UNITY.
Morons. All of them.
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) September 11, 2020
You boo a moment of unity 1) when there's no unity, and 2) when you want to make it clear you don't want unity.
— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) September 11, 2020
Saints safety, NFL Players Coalition President, and CNN contributor Malcolm Jenkins, went on the air to say the things one would expect a CNN guest to say. Mainly, that it was somehow hypocritical for fans to cheer players when doing their job of playing football. Yet wrong for them to boo when the players use their sports platform for things that have nothing to do with sports.
"The Kansas City Chiefs, when they were leading that city to a Super Bowl championship, those same fans cheered … But when players want to draw attention to the critical conditions of their communities, you're met with boos." – @MalcolmJenkins on the NFL's moment of unity pic.twitter.com/SZcont2LcO
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) September 11, 2020
Jenkins wasn’t the only one who stuck to his usual script.
America's Racists: Always booing at demonstrations against racism, never booing at actual racism.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) September 11, 2020
Let’s talk about what Chiefs are booing
They are booing their own players, peacefully asking for a more just and equal society
More specifically, they’re booing athletes for asking that police not disproportionately target Black people for violence
What kind of human boos THAT https://t.co/DJQFSBDhh6
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) September 11, 2020
Then there was whatever this is.
NFL fans booing the Moment of Unity, what do you expect after a decade of flyovers and enforced patriotism? Where owners cynically kneel once and then tell players not to kneel again? Giant flags on every field?
— Jane McManus (@janesports) September 11, 2020
The Chiefs and Texans players showing unity — and fans booing that display before doing the tomahawk chop — was a dead-on accurate representation of where this country is.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) September 11, 2020
Senate Republican Josh Hawley of Missouri responded to the spate of hate directed at fans in his home state, and proposed that the booing was a response to corporate social justice activism.
“Classless trash”? The left showing their usual contempt for middle America. Missouri has the best fans in the country. Don’t blame them for being tired of NFL/corporate woke politics jammed down their throats https://t.co/kuzbwhviZI
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 11, 2020
It’s still my contention that the boos were for the Texans and the Texans alone. Though, it’s also entirely possible that people were booing for multiple reasons. The NFL certainly gave fans enough to boo about during an hour long pregame show that featured multiple social justice songs from Alicia Keyes and other woke messaging.
Bottom line, it’s probably impossible to determine just one reason why NFL fans would boo. Primarily, because the NFL gives them so many reasons to do it.