The NFL season got underway Thursday night in Kansas City, where the defending Super Bowl champions defeated the Houston Texans before a crowd of about 17,000 — the limit set by coronavirus restrictions. Ahead of the game, Kansas City players joined arms with their opponents on the field in what players billed as a “moment of silence dedicated to the ongoing fight for equality in our country.” Much of the crowd erupted in boos during the players’ demonstration.
Kansas City Councilmember Eric Bunch responded on Twitter, “Some NFL fans booing the players for standing and locking arms in a moment of silent unity proves that for them 'standing for the flag' was always about perpetuating white supremacy.”
This comes as Miami Dolphins players said they would remain inside their locker room this season for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as well as the NFL’s new addition to pre-game ceremonies, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black national anthem. This is an excerpt from a video released by Dolphins teammates on Thursday.
Elandon Roberts: “So, if my dad was a soldier, but the cops killed my brother, do I stand for one anthem and then kneel for the other?”
Kavon Frazier: “This attempt to unify only creates more divide.”
Shaq Lawson: “So we’ll skip the song and dance.”
Elandon Roberts: “And as a team, we’ll stay inside.”
This week, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick returned to the NFL — but only in virtual form. Kaepernick was added to the 2021 version of the popular Madden NFL video game. He has remained unsigned by NFL teams since 2017 after leading protests against police brutality and racism during the 2016 season.