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Week 7: Guide To NFL Players Who Protested During National Anthem

President Donald Trump threw another Twitter tantrum after several National Football League players protested during the national anthem on Sunday. He accused the NFL of showing “no leadership” when it comes to suppressing the free speech actions of players.

But it is not as if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell supports players, who are protesting during the anthem. Goodell said last week, following meetings with representatives from the NFL Players Association, that he thought players should stand. The NFL and team owners are trying to get to a point where no players are kneeling or sitting.

What Trump is upset with is that a private organization will not penalize or discipline its employees as they engage in freedom of expression that he abhors.

Nevertheless, owners like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have led the way in pressuring players to end their demonstration. “There is no question the league is suffering negative effects from these protests,” Jones declared. He promises to bench any player who “disrespects the flag,” even though this is about police brutality and racism and not national symbols.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett responded, saying Jones’ comments reminded him “of the Dred Scott case: You’re property, so you don’t have the ability to be a person first.”

“In this generation, I think that sends the wrong message to young kids and young people all across the world that your employer doesn’t see you as a human being, they see you as a piece of property, and if that’s the case, then I don’t get it. I just don’t get why you don’t see us as human beings first,” Bennett added.

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 donated to Trump’s inaugural committee or his presidential campaign.

There are larger systemic issues motivating the protest of players, but a few players, like Bennett, say they must show solidarity with Kaepernick. “The first step to even being able to even have a conversation is making sure that Colin Kaepernick gets an opportunity to play in the NFL.”

Below is a guide to all the individual NFL players who took action in Week 7:

Arizona Cardinals

Players Who Took a Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Atlanta Falcons

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Baltimore Ravens

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Buffalo Bills

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.



Carolina Panthers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Chicago Bears

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Cincinnati Bengals

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Cleveland Browns

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Dallas Cowboys

Players Who Took A Knee: Owner Jerry Jones is not about to tolerate any players taking a knee on his team. Nevertheless, defensive tackle David Irving raised his fist at the end of the anthem.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Denver Broncos

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions had a bye week.

Green Bay Packers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players linked arms during the anthem, as they have for the past three weeks.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans had a bye week.

Indianapolis Colts

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: Most players locked arms together.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Kansas City Chiefs

Players Who Took A Knee: None.

Players Who Sat: Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Marcus Peters sat during the anthem.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Los Angeles Chargers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but for the second week in a row, left tackle Russell Okung raised a fist while standing.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Player Statements:

“As a pragmatist, I will admit, I initially doubted the merits of Colin Kaepernick’s protest and questioned his strategy.

I was wrong.

There is now no doubt in my mind that what he did last season was a courageous, prophetic, self-sacrificial act that has captivated a nation and inspired a powerful movement.

If I had his cellphone number, I would tell him that.

As Kap’s message has now been distorted, co-opted and used to further divide us along the very racial lines he was highlighting, we as players have a responsibility to come together and respond collectively. But how can this happen practically?

The uncharted territory we’re dealing with requires us to innovate if we are to effectuate any meaningful change — if we are to look back at this moment with pride when our grandkids ask us one day how we responded to the circumstances we now face. This requires some sober self-reflection and a greater awareness of what is limiting our effectiveness.”

—Left Tackle Russell Okung’s recent op-ed for The Players’ Tribune

Los Angeles Rams

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but linebacker Robert Quinn raised his fist. Punter Jonny Hekker stood in solidarity, with his arm on Quinn.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Player Statements:

“It’s not a deal that we’re protesting the flag and saying that we don’t like America and we don’t like our troops. It’s a deal where we’re just trying to stand up for the people that have been marginalized and that are put down systematically in our country.”

Punter Jonny Hekker

Miami Dolphins

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but wide receiver Kenny Stills, tight end Julius Thomas, and defensive back Michael Thomas again remained off the field until the anthem was over. They face a rule imposed by the team’s management that requires players to stand.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Minnesota Vikings

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

New England Patriots

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

New Orleans Saints

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but before the anthem, many Saints players took a knee to show they have unity. This has been the owners’ way of showing protests will not divide their team.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

New York Giants

Players Who Took A Knee: Defensive end Olivier Vernon, the only Giants player to kneel, took a knee again. (He is currently inactive as result of injury.)

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

New York Jets

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Oakland Raiders

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: Running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem, as he did for the past few weeks.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Philadelphia Eagles

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod held their right fists up in the air during the anthem. Defensive end Chris Long once again had his arm on Jenkins as a show of solidarity. They have done this for multiple weeks. (Jenkins has done this since Week 2 of last season.)

Also, this time there was a member of the practice squad who raised their fist.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

San Francisco 49ers

Players Who Took A Knee: Defensive back Adrian Colbert, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, linebackers Reuben Foster and Eli Harold, and safety Eric Reid took a knee.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Seattle Seahawks

Players Who Took A Knee: Linebacker Michael Wilhoite took a knee.

Players Who Sat: Defensive ends Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Branden Jackson, and Quinton Jefferson, defensive tackles Nazair Jones and Sheldon Richardson, and linebacker Marcus Smith sat on a bench.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

“It’s always been about justice and discrimination in America, police brutality, women’s rights; all those different issues. Clean water; Flint, Michigan. Issues that are pertaining to America that we all need to pay attention to because it’s not until it happens to one of us that it’s important, but it’s important every single day regardless of what we have going on.” —Defensive End Michael Bennett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Tennessee Titans

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported, but wide receiver Rishard Matthews stayed in the tunnel for the fourth time this season as a show of protest and because the coaches and management do not want players to individually kneel. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey raised their fists as the anthem ended.

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

Washington Redskins

Players Who Took A Knee: None reported

Players Who Sat: None reported.

Players Who Locked Arms: None reported.

 

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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."