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A Team-By-Team Guide To NFL Players Who Protested National Anthem In Week 3

During the third week of the National Football League season, the NFL responded to President Donald Trump’s comments slurring players, who take a knee during the national anthem to protest injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism. The owners and coaches linked arms to show Trump he would not divide them. But there were several players, who took stronger action and continued to engage in the tactic of taking a knee.

Taking a knee started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 preseason. He declared, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” (He was referring to police who gun down black men and face nearly zero consequences for their actions.)

NFL owners blackballed Kaepernick. Several of them, including owners who stood with players on Sunday, donated to Trump’s inaugural committee or his presidential campaign.

A very small percentage of players were willing to step out before Trump made his comments, but he agitated the entire league and pushed many to take action beyond calling Trump indecent. For example, both the Seahawks and the Raiders took bold stands as teams that hinged upon tolerance and resistance to racism. Dolphins players even went so far as to warm up in shirts that said “#IMWITHKAP.”

Below is a guide to all the individual players, who took action, along with a record of how each team responded to Trump’s comments.

NOTE: If we missed any players or protests, please let us know by sending us a message on Twitter or Facebook.

Arizona Cardinals

Players Who Took a Knee: No players took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the team locked arms and the linking of arms even included members of the military, which seemed directed at fans who continue to insist this is about the flag when it is really about racism and inequality.

Did Owner(s) Join Them?: No, but the general manager and president were both present to stand with the team.

Atlanta Falcons

Players Who Took a Knee: Two players, defensive linemen Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe, took a knee. It was the first time Falcons players knelt during the anthem.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the team.

Did Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, Arthur Blank locked arms with wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman.

Player Statements: “My spirit moved me in a way, and it was on my mind,” Jarrett said. “It was on my mind, man. And it’s definitely something that it’s so awesome because of having the support of your brothers, man, and a supportive organization like this. It’s truly a blessing. I’m just thankful.”

Poe stated, “I just felt like as a man, it was something I should do. No matter what’s going on, if I can do something to help in any kind of way, that was the way that I chose. And I did it.” He added, “It’s more about being together as people try to divide you. Strength in numbers; strength in yourself. I felt like it was more of my duty to do it.”

Baltimore Ravens

Players Who Took A Knee: Wide receiver Mike Wallace, linebackers C.J. Moseley, Za’Darius Smith, and Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Carl Davis, and defensive backs Tony Jefferson, Anthony Levine Sr., and Lardarius Webb took a knee. It was the first time any Ravens player protested during the anthem. (They were joined by former Ravens player Ray Lewis, who is an honorary captain.)

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the team.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements: “Personally, I think the comments made about my brothers who decided to protest and kneel is kind of what made us no longer be silent,” Suggs stated. “We stand with our brothers. They have the right to protest. We knelt with them today. Nonviolent protest is as American as it gets. We knelt with them today, and let them know we are a unified front. There is no dividing us. I guess we’re all sons of bitches.”

Buffalo Bills

Players Who Took A Knee: Wide receivers Kaelin Clay and Jordan Matthews, running back Taiwan Jones, fullback Mike Tolbert, defensive ends Ryan Davis and Shaq Lawson, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, cornerbacks Shareece Wright and Leonard Johnson, defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Cedric Thornton took a knee.

Running back LeSean McCoy opted to individually continue his warm-up routine during the anthem.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the team.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements:



Carolina Panthers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but defensive end Julius Peppers did not take the field until after the anthem. He was the only Panthers player to protest.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most Panthers players stood without arms linked.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: N/A

Player Statements: Peppers declared, “It was about me making a decision as a man on my own two feet. (And I) don’t want to ask someone else to do anything for me. I just thought it was appropriate to stay in because we know what went on this week with the comments that were made by the President. I felt like he attacked our brothers, my brothers in the league. So I felt like it was appropriate to stand up with them and stay in the locker room.”

Chicago Bears

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the players stood with their arms linked.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Cincinnati Bengals

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the players stood with arms linked during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements: The first statement by a Bengals player came from tight end Tyler Eifert, who is injured and did not travel with his team to Green Bay to play on Sunday.

“I don’t like that. For me personally, I love this country,” Eifert declared. “The national anthem has always been one of my favorite parts before a game. You are sitting here on a sideline. They are standing on that sideline. We have thousands of troops that have died, and we are sitting here to recognize that and I’m sitting here all nervous because we are going to play a game. There are people over there dying for us. It just kind of brings me back down to Earth that it really isn’t that big of a deal to be here playing a football game when there are people doing a lot more important stuff. It’s a good time to pay tribute to them.”

Cleveland Browns

Players Who Took A Knee: Twenty-one players reportedly knelt. They included running back Isaiah Crowell, wide receiver Kenny Britt, defensive end Myles Garrett, linebackers James Burgess and Christian Kirksey, rookie safety Jabrill Peppers, cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor, and defensive tackle Trevon Coley.

While they did not take a knee, media noticed defensive linemen Jamie Meder and Emanuel Ogbah, along with long snapper Charley Hughlett, stood with the group that took a knee. Running back Duke Johnson appeared to stand nearby with wide receivers Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis, and Kasen Williams, and Johnson responded to boos from spectators at the stadium.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the team did not link arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements: “It’s a tragedy in this country that we still have to have these discussions. I know for a fact that I’m no son of a bitch. I plan on continuing forward and doing what I can from my position to promote the equality that’s needed in this country,” quarterback DeShone Kizer said. Referring to Kaepernick, he added, “The goal was to be able to use our platform as a league to be able to bring attention to the equalities in our country.”

Dallas Cowboys

Players Who Took A Knee: All players took a knee, but the team did it before the anthem.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: The team linked arms while taking a knee.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, in one of the more surreal displays of Week 3, Jerry Jones took a knee with players.

Denver Broncos

Players Who Took A Knee: Media reported thirty-two Broncos players knelt, including players from the practice squad. Team captains, linebacker Von Miller and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, took a knee. Tight end Virgil Green and linebacker Shaquil Barrett raised fists while standing.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the team did not link arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements: “We felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech,” Miller declared. “And collectively, we felt like we had to do something for this game. If not any other game, if not the past, if not the future, we felt that we had to do something. We couldn’t just let things go.” He also added, “It was for our brothers who have been attacked for things they do during the game.”

Detroit Lions

Players Who Took A Knee: Running back Ameer Abdullah, linebacker Tahir Whitehead, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, and reserves Cornelius Washington, Akeem Spence, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Jeremiah Ledbetter took a knee.

Tight end Eric Ebron opted to stand by himself instead of on the sideline, and that was interpreted as his form of protest. Anthem singer Rico LaVelle took a knee when the anthem finished and raised his right fist, which was holding the microphone, into the air.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Numerous players on the team linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, owner Martha Firestone Ford, who is 92 years-old, came down to the field and linked arms with her daughters.

Green Bay Packers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: Tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, along with rookie cornerback Kevin King, sat. It was the first time any Packers players sat in protest. However, Bennett previously lifted his right fist during the anthem before the first two regular season games.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players on the team linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements: “It was crazy because here I am, I’m going into my first game starting, and I’m following A.J. Green. And, of course, I know that,” King said. “Before the game, I’m thinking about if I should kneel, and that says something there. Of course I’m focused on the game and everything, but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘What should I do in this situation?’ It was really a game-time decision. It’s hard, being a rookie. It’s hard. I had to think long and hard about it, because there’s a lot that can come with that.”

Houston Texans

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players on the team linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Indianapolis Colts

Players Who Took A Knee: Wide receivers Kamar Aiken and Matt Hazel, running back Marlon Mack, nose tackle Al Woods, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, and safeties Darius Butler and Malik Hooker took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Player Statements: “There are a lot of great things about this country, this is a great country, but there are some things that need to be changed,” Butler said. “It was upsetting. It was disrespectful. Him being in that position, obviously, he shouldn’t be, I would say one of the most divisive people in the country. We wanted to show unity, locking arms. With the guys that felt the need to make some kind of stand, make a protest, that’s what we did.”

Jacksonville Jaguars

Players Who Took A Knee: Running back Leonard Fournette, defensive ends Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler, Yannick Ngakoue, and Dawuane Smoot, cornerbacks A.J. Bouye, Tyler Patmon, and Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Myles Jack and defensive tackles Sheldon Day, Malik Jackson, and Abry Jones, nose tackle Eli Ankou, and free safety Tashaun Gipson took a knee.

Fowler, joined by former defensive end Jared Odrick, both raised their fists in the air during the anthem.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, Shad Khan locked arms with players.

Kansas City Chiefs

Players Who Took A Knee: Tight end Travis Kelce, wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley, and defensive lineman Chris Jones took a knee.

Players Who Sat: Running back Kareem Hunt sat. So did cornerback Marcus Peters, who sat during the anthem for the first two regular season games. Nose tackle Bennie Logan put a hand on Peters while standing.

Players Who Locked Arms: The team did not link arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

Los Angeles Chargers

Players Who Took A Knee: Defensive end Melvin Ingram took a knee while cornerback Casey Hayward and safety Adrian Phillips raised their arms and clasped their hands.

Players Who Sat: Linebacker Chris McCain, defensive end Darius Philon, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane, Damion Square and Tenny Palepoi sat.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, owner Dean Spanos joined them.

Los Angeles Rams

The team played on Thursday night before Donald Trump made his remarks.

Miami Dolphins

Players Who Took A Knee: Running back Jay Ajayi, wide receiver Kenny Stills, tight end Julius Thomas, defensive back Michael Thomas, and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil took a knee.

Numerous Dolphins players wore T-shirts that read “#IMWITHKAP” during warmups before the game.

Players Who Sat: Linebacker Chris McCain, defensive end Darius Philon, and defensive tackles Brandon Mebane, Damion Square and Tenny Palepoi sat.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, owner Steve Ross joined them.

Player Statements: Fighting back tears, Michael Thomas said, “It just amazes me with everything else that’s going on in this world, especially involving the U.S., that’s what you’re concerned about, my man? You’re the leader of the free world and this is what you’re talking about?”

“So, as a man, as a father, as an African-American man, as somebody in the NFL and as one of those ‘sons of bitches,’ yeah, I took it personally, but at the same time, it’s bigger than me. I’ve got a daughter. She’s going to have to live in this world. I’m going to do whatever I got to do to make sure she can look at her dad and be like, ‘Hey, you did something, you tried to make a change.'”

Minnesota Vikings

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported

Players Who Locked Arms: All of the players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, co-owners Mark and Zygi Wilf and general manager Rick Spielman locked arms with players.

New England Patriots

Players Who Took A Knee: Running backs Brandon Bolden and James White, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, cornerbacks Johnson Bademosi, Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, and Jonathan Jones, defensive tackles Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy, and Deatrich Wise, free safety Devin McCourty, safety Duron Harmon, defensive end Trey Flowers, linebacker Elandon Roberts, and defensive back Jordan Richards took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

New Orleans Saints

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: Running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson, wide receiver Brandon Coleman, defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor, safety Kenny Vaccaro, defensive back Rafael Bush, cornerbacks Chris Banjo and De’Vante Harris, and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sat during the anthem.

Media noted that four other players, punter Thomas Morstead, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, linebacker Craig Robertson, and tight end Coby Fleener, appeared to show support for the sitting players by standing with them.

Players Who Locked Arms: No report of players locking arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: N/A

New York Giants

Players Who Took A Knee: Safety Landon Collins, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and defensive end Olivier Vernon took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the players locked arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No.

New York Jets

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most of the players locked arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Owner Chris Johnson stood and locked arms with players.

Oakland Raiders

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: Most of the team sat together with arms linked. But notably, quarterback Derek Carr opted to stand and pray instead of participating.

Players Who Locked Arms: All players sitting linked arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No

Player Statements: Right tackle Marshall Newhouse said, “The injustice in the country just doesn’t sit well with us, regardless of what the President said before. This is kind of an ongoing problem, and we’re making a statement about that. It might seem that way that it was kind of a reaction to the President, but this stuff’s been going on for a long time.”

Philadelphia Eagles

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but linebacker Mychal Kendricks did choose to stand by himself instead of linking arms.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, owner Jeffrey Lurie linked arms with players.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Coach Mike Tomlin was very adamant and insistent that players would all do the same thing during the anthem. He appeared to make a decision to keep all players in the locker room to prevent individual players from expressing themselves in ways that might upset other players and create “distractions” from the game.

That did not stop offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a military veteran, from leaving the locker room early to stand at the tail end with his hand on his heart. That upset Tomlin, because it undermined the purpose of staying in the locker room. Tomlin’s anger was crudely construed by conservative media as a sleight against a military veteran.

San Francisco 49ers

The team played Thursday night before Donald Trump made remarks.

Seattle Seahawks

All players remained in the locker room during the anthem and issued the following statement:

As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all. Respectfully, the players of the Seattle Seahawks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Players Who Took A Knee: Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: No

Tennessee Titans

All team players remained in the locker room. Like the Steelers, the goal was more to ensure different players did not have to deal with whether they should take a certain action or not.

In a statement, they declared: “As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpatriotic.”

But it created an eerie scene in the Seahwaks-Titans game, where there were no players on the field during the anthem.

Washington Redskins

Players Who Took A Knee: Wide receivers Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Brian Quick, tight ends Niles Paul and Jordan Reed, and linebackers Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms during the anthem.

Did The Owner(s) Join Them?: Yes, owner Dan Snyder linked arms with players.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."