Dozens of Players and Staff from Bears, Lions Protest During Anthem

Getty Images/Rey Del Rio

As their game began Sunday, both the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions protested against the country during the national anthem. Though, neither team took a unified approach.

A group of the Chicago Bears took a knee, and some raised their fists during the national anthem on Sunday as they visited Detroit. A greater number, though, stayed in the locker room and avoided the whole thing.

Nine members of the Bears and several members of the coaching and sideline staff took a knee during the anthem, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The paper added that the protest was significant because no Bears player had kneeled during the anthem before.

The players who kneeled included Akiem Hicks, Roy Robertson-Harris, Brent Urban, John Jenkins, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Josh Woods, Bobby Massie, and Rashaad Coward. James Vaughters, Jimmy Graham, and Cairo Santos raised their fists in the air.

However, a large group of 21 players stayed in the locker room and did not come out for either the national anthem or the so-called black national anthem.

Bears chairman George McCaskey said he understands that protesting against the country during the national anthem is a divisive topic.

“For everybody who says that the players should take a knee, you find somebody else who says no, the players should stand with their hands over their hearts during the anthem,” McCaskey said on Thursday. “So, I don’t know that there’s any absolute right way to handle it. We’re doing the best we can to navigate some difficult waters under the circumstances.”

The Lions also had mixed reactions among the players. Some stood, others left the field, and some took a knee.

Those who decided to kneel during the anthem included Adrian Peterson, Tracy Walker, Da’Shawn Hand, Jonah Jackson, Marvin Hall, Jason Cabinda, and Matthew Stafford, reported.

Many linked arms, as well.

Several other players entered the field before the anthem with the team, but then left and stood in the entrance tunnel during the anthem.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.