Days after the NFL declined to change its rule on the national anthem, about two dozen players protested around the league Sunday.
Associated Press journalists counted 22 players protesting during the anthems in some way before day games. Some took a knee, others sat on the bench, stayed in the tunnel or raised a fist.
On Sept. 25, days after President Trump said players should be fired for protesting during the anthem, more than 200 players protested.
On Sunday, the Seahawks and 49ers had the most protesters. Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett and seven Seahawks teammates did not stand before their game with the New York Giants.
As a New York City police officer sang the anthem, Bennett was joined by defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, defensive end Brandon Jackson, defensive end Marcus Smith, defensive tackle Jarran Reed, defensive end Frank Clark and defensive end Quinton Jefferson. Defensive end Cliff Avril, scratched for the game, sat between Clark and Bennett.
Another teammate stood with his left arm on Bennett’s back. One Seattle player kneeled.
In San Francisco, about a half-dozen 49ers kneeled led by Eric Reid, Marquise Goodwin, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, Eli Harold, Adrian Colbert and K’waun Williams. All the Dallas Cowboys stood , but defensive tackle David Irving raised his fist after the anthem ended.
In Cleveland, Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews stayed inside the tunnel during the national anthem.
Chargers left tackle Russell Okung stood with his right fist raised during the anthem before Los Angeles hosted the Denver Broncos.
A group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours Tuesday at the league’s headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues. The NFL’s policy on the national anthem was not changed.
Just one player appeared to protest visibly during the early games Sunday, with Rams linebacker Robert Quinn raising his fist during the U.S. anthem, then bringing it down before ”God Save The Queen” before playing Arizona in London.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday that changing the language from ”should stand” to ”must stand” was not discussed at the league’s fall meetings.
Most of the Indianapolis Colts locked arms before kickoff at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Miami, Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas all stayed in the locker room during the anthem.
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