About 18 players protest during national anthem
Associated Press journalists counted 18 NFL players protesting during the national anthem before games on Sunday.
Miami Dolphins players Julius Thomas, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills knelt during the anthem before Sunday night’s game against the Raiders.
Before recent games, the three players waited in the tunnel during the anthem. Coach Adam Gase had established a team rule requiring players either to stand for the anthem or stay in the tunnel.
But the players told Gase that waiting in the tunnel was interfering with their game preparation, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The person said Gase told them he preferred they stand during the anthem but respected their right to express themselves and relaxed the team rule. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins didn’t comment on the latest protests.
For the Dolphins, the game was the first since owner Stephen Ross joined with his players to create a fund for social justice programs.
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, linebacker Eli Harold and receiver Marquise Goodwin knelt during the anthem before their game with the Arizona Cardinals.
It appeared that six active players and at least one inactive player for Seattle sat for the anthem prior to a game with the Washington Redskins. The majority of the Seahawks defensive line has been sitting during the anthem for most of the season. Newly acquired left tackle Duane Brown knelt.
Only five players were spotted protesting the anthem in some form before the early games.
Philadelphia Eagles safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod raised their fists during the anthem. Defensive end Chris Long put an arm on Jenkins. Giants injured defensive end Oliver Vernon took a knee.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews stayed off the field during the anthem.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protest movement last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that team owners colluded against him because of the protests — aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other issues.
Kaepernick’s ex-teammate, Reid, said the players have sent a letter to NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent seeking another meeting with ownership. Reid said Kaepernick would attend this meeting after not being part of one last month.
“Colin started this protest. He’s the reason that we’re having these discussions with the NFL,” Reid said. “So I think it only makes sense that he’s there. Secondly, we are asking that a mediator be there, just to keep the conversation going. The first meeting was great. We were there for four hours. But I feel like we were talking in circles a little bit. So we want a mediator there to keep the conversation resolution-oriented, and I’m hoping that I hear back from Troy soon.”
Most weeks, a handful of players — almost all of them black — have protested during the anthems. On Sept. 24, however, more than 200 players protested after President Donald Trump said owners should fire any players who didn’t stand for the anthem.
About a dozen members of the New Orleans Saints took a knee before the anthem Sunday, but stood once the public address announcer asked the crowd to rise. That’s been the Saints’ typical anthem routine since the fourth week of the season.
No members of the Houston Texans knelt. One week earlier, all but about 10 Texans took a knee to protest team owner Bob McNair’s comment that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting of NFL owners about player protests.
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving was pictured raising his fist shortly after the anthem finished playing before the Cowboys’ game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The latest round of protests came one day after a video circulated on social media of retired Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully saying that he “will never watch another NFL game” because he’s so disappointed by the protests and he has “overwhelming respect and admiration for anyone who puts on a uniform and goes to war.”
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami Gardens, Florida, contributed to this report.