Sick of “Fluff and Empty Gestures,” the Dolphins Decide to Stay in Locker Room During Anthem

Getty Images/Steven Lyons

The Miami Dolphins have announced that they intend to stay in the locker room during the playing of both the national anthem and the “black national anthem,” known as Lift Every Voice and Sing, because they feel protests on the field are “empty gestures.”

“This attempt to unify only creates more divide. So, we’ll skip this song and dance, and as a team we’ll stay inside,” a group of 18 Dolphins players said in a video posted on Thursday. “We need changed hearts, not just a response to pressure. Enough, no more fluff and empty gestures. We need owners with influence and pockets bigger than ours to call up officials and flex political power.”

The players gathered to proclaim their disgust with “empty gestures” currently employed to address social issues and to demand that the teams get more involved with “change.” The players also called for prison reform, denounced police brutality, and they slammed the league for taking millions from the U.S. military for patriotic displays on the field.

This is the first team to make a united statement about the social justice issues that have riled pro sports since 2016 when former NFL player Colin Kaepernick began protesting against the country by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

The players collectively feel as though having two anthems is divisive and unhelpful. “We don’t need another publicity parade,” player Bobby McCain said in the video.

Linebacker Elandon Roberts added, “So if my dad was a soldier but the cops killed my brother, do I stand for one anthem and kneel for the other?”

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores closed out the statement saying, “Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions. We’ll just stay inside.”

Flores has also said that Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is supportive of the team’s decision and video, ESPN reported.

“I talked to Steve about the video. He was supportive,” Flores said. “It was directed at everyone [in the NFL]. I think every individual in this country can do a little bit better — players, coaches, owners, media. That was the message. To try to misconstrue the message or take it in some different light, that’s wasn’t what the message was supposed to be.

“We can all do better. We all need to do better. What’s happening in this country — and really around the world — [is] we need change. It’s something we’ve been saying for a long time. The video speaks for itself from that standpoint. From a message standpoint, it’s that we can all do better.”

The players who appeared in the video include, defensive linemen Christian Wilkins, Davon Godchaux and Shaq Lawson, offensive linemen Ted Karras and Jesse Davis, linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts, safeties Bobby McCain, Eric Rowe and Kavon Frazier, cornerbacks Byron Jones and Jamal Perry, tight ends Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe, wide receivers Preston Williams and Isaiah Ford, and running backs Matt Breida and Patrick Laird.

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