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K.C.’s Peters raises fist, 4 Dolphins kneel during anthems

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    From left, Miami Dolphins’ Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, kneel during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks today in Seattle.

  • THE KANSAS CITY STAR VIA AP

    Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raises his fist in the air during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers today in Kansas City, Mo.

Opening day in the NFL saw Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters raise a black-gloved fist during the national anthem, a protest amplified later Sunday when four Miami Dolphins kneeled on the sideline with hands on their hearts as “The Star Spangled Banner” played in Seattle.

The protests were inspired by San Francisco backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick , the first NFL player who chose to sit and take a knee during the anthem in preseason games to call attention to what he termed the oppression of blacks and other minorities.

“I chose to get involved to see if I could create change, raise awareness. And I want to make it clear that there is no disrespect to the military or to police officers —I’m not about that. I love everyone,” said Miami’s Jelani Jenkins, one of the Dolphins to kneel. “I would like to keep moving forward in the right direction with everybody: equal rights, equal opportunity. From my position, it doesn’t seem that it’s happening. That’s why I took a stand.”

Peters’ gesture was the only one visible throughout the early games Sunday, as the anthems took on more significance because of the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks.

“I come from a majority black community from Oakland, California … so the struggle, I seen it,” Peters said after the Chiefs beat San Diego 33-27 in overtime. “I still have some family in the struggle. All I’m saying is we want to educate those, the youth that’s coming up.”

The four Miami players — Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Jenkins and Kenny Stills — registered their protest shortly before kickoff. The four players stood while President Obama’s message played regarding the 15th anniversary of 9/11 before taking a knee. All four stood at the conclusion of the anthem.

“If it’s about the knee that people are upset about, every Sunday people of faith take a knee to give thanks to their lord and savior, whatever faith or religion that they are,” Foster said. “It’s not about a knee, it’s not about the (symbolism), it’s about the message. They say it’s not the time to do this, but when is the time?”

Several teams, including the Chiefs and Seahawks, saw their players link arms during the anthem. Peters, the 2015 defensive rookie of the year, was the last person in the Chiefs line and had his arm free to raise it.

“He spoke up about something he felt he needed to speak up about,” Peters said last week. “I salute him for that.”

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall , a teammate of Kaepernick’s in college at Nevada, took a knee during the anthem on Thursday night.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on Kaepernick’s protest last week as well, saying, “I don’t necessarily agree with what he’s doing.”

Seattle’s locker room was engaged in a lengthy discussion over the past few weeks about what type of message to send. The players enlisted coach Pete Carroll in the discussions almost from the start, and brought Dr. Harry Edwards to help direct the conversations.

“Gestures mean nothing without follow through. That’s what Harry Edwards said and that’s what I agree with,” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. “People get confused that you have to go out there and put on a show and make this gesture and make people aware of it, and we’re more about action.”

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who became a default spokesman for Seattle’s actions, said the players are working to schedule a meeting with the mayor of Seattle and local law enforcement.

“We know that there has to be change and progress,” Baldwin said. “Change is inevitable. Change will always happen. But you got to apply direction to change, and that’s when it’s progress. And so right now what we’re doing as a team, we have a follow through.”

Taped messages from Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were played at each stadium. Bush attended the Giants-Cowboys match in Arlington, Texas, while Vice President Joe Biden was in Philadelphia for Browns-Eagles.

Peters’ gesture was also a tribute of sorts to U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won the gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter race at the 1968 Olympics. Both then appeared on the medal stands with raised, black-gloved fists throughout the U.S. national anthem in what they called a “human rights salute.”

And in the night game, New England’s Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty both held up their right arms. Teammate Danny Amendola was seen clutching the American flag unfurled on the field in Arizona.

The International Olympic Committee ordered Smith and Carlos expelled from the games because of the protest.

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  • Perhaps if the media wasn’t so keen on showing the antics of a very small group of self-aggrandizing and self promoting social misfits, there would no more repeats of such behavior, or if there was,it wouldn’t be news. It isn’t.

  • the united states of america was never a perfect nation. the founders acknowledged that this nation needed to constantly improve and provided a constitutional government to continue the political and social evolution of liberty and justice for all.

    this country may never reach the more perfect union that was dreamed of by the founders and many others including dr. martin luther king.
    but, this republic will continue its efforts to achieve liberty and justice for all.

    protesting, kneeling or fist bumping during the national anthem does little to further the revolution in achieving liberty and justice for all, if that’s all that is done by the actors. getting involved, running for elected office, taking on the jobs of police, teachers and working together is what it will take.

    but, if protesting, kneeling or fist bumping is all you want to do, well, that’s your right, yours to enjoy under the freedoms and protections that the flag and national anthem symbolize.

    • Ditto. The media need not focus on personal bias every time a person(s) choose to express his personal gripe. Wondering if organization could interject their thoughts on what and how the extravaganza should be edited and broadcasted. After all it is their money that is paying for the time? The sponsor can says enough is enough and we do not care or I share the same views. Perhaps the majority should express their opinion and force the sponsors to do so?

    • Oppression, White Privilege are the contributing factors that lead to what is going today, it is so sad to see how the non white community is so quick to cry foul and pull the prejudice card and totally ignore the decades of racism. The flag is just that a flag, the land belonged to the first people the native indians. White colonialist stole the land, remember America and many countries were not lost, the people who claim to discover new lands were LOST the same can be said about Hawaii, we were not lost so how could Cook find us?????? Like the Native Indians our lands too have been stolen, and like all the players I too do not stand nor sing the national anthem because of what it represents and I have been doing this for years. People think statehood was something the Hawaiian people wanted and they were wrong, our Queen was overthrown and the US government watched and participated in this theft. People forget that this whole protest is being done in a non violent manner and it is their right as well.

      • @cbvierra I am a part Hawaiian. I firmly believe my life as a US citizen is far better than my life would have been as maka’aina in the Kapu system. If I had let ali’i shadow touch me, i would have been killed on the spot. I would have had to suffer the consequence of ali’i incurring vast debt on the kingdom’s behalf. Free speech did not exist. My protest against ali’i would have met in a very violent manner. I am proud to be Hawaiian, and very proud to be an American.

      • Your views are pathetically wrong and illogical. How does white privilege explain the millions of whites living below the poverty level, lower in percentage, but vastly higher in number than African americans. The whole white privilege thing is just trash talk. Explain white privilege to any farm boy and he’ll laugh in your face.

        Decades of racism are coming to an end and they have been brought to an end by a caucasian majority. The list of programs and special treatment to rectify past racism is infinite. Welfare, affirmative action, all sorts of programs and policies to prevent racial prejudice playing a part in the work place, in housing, in education, in almost every walk of life.

        The land belonged to the native peoples? Which ones might that be? Here is the truth. Wave upon wave of “native people” moved into north america, each one displacing its predecessor with violence and greater numbers. The Comanche butchered and ran off their competitors. Tribes routinely took slaves. War between tribes over territory was a way of life. That these less powerful stone age people were pushed aside by more advanced Europeans is no surprise. Neither was it anymore or less moral than what the Indians had been doing to each other for centuries.

        White colonist did not steal the land. With the exception of some of the eastern tribes, it was occupied largely by hunter gatherer tribes, many nomadic, staying put nowhere. They didn’t own anything in the sense of the word. As for Hawaii, you never had any land to steal unless you were the king or Alii. Westerners brought the concept of land owners here, not the Hawaiian leadership.

        You don’t stand? Fine, but the fact is, without the governance and protections created by a bunch of old white men, you’d probably have a boot on your neck and the rest of the planet would probably living with boots on their necks from Nazism or Communism, as well.

        The overthrow. Your Hawaiian leaders failed you. That’s what happened. The US government did not participate. Not one bullet fired. The queen folded, handed over power, as had been done earlier with the British. This time it wasn’t handed back.

        You’ve let your bitterness regarding an imagined future taken from you blind you to the facts. Is our country perfect? Not at all. Is it a profoundly good nation, founded on great principles? Definitely, and especially so in comparison to any other country in the world including pre-contact Hawaii.

  • If there’s one thing we’ve all known for a long time, it’s that these professional athletes have barely enough intelligence to remember their names, let alone respond to current events. There was a time when professional athletes were great roll-models for youth. That was a long, long, time ago. These guys are ridiculous.

    • These athletes have become an asset and marketing tool for NFL owners. Until the NFL clamps down on this blatant act of disrespect these people will continue to push their ignorant point of view.

    • Yup Peanut, The media glamorizes these idiots as well as thugs and drug dealers. Nice cars and fat gold chains make you think you are better than the flag you live under and all those that respect what we stand for.

  • Yes, Freedom of speech. If you were a soldier, do you think you could take a knee while the National Anthem is played? At your workplace, can you wear a shirt with profanity or obscene? Also yes, people of faith take a knee to give thanks to their lord and savior, whatever faith or religion that they are but you’re at a football game with the National Anthem playing. Please use your common sense and use the right forum to send your message. Btw, what do you do while a Foreign National Anthem is being played? We stand so why don’t you do it for your own country! I agree that we need to unify as one but I don’t think showing disrespect to our flag and National Anthem is the right way. Freedom of speech does not mean the right to disrespect.

  • What does this so called “protest” have to do with the NFL or any sport? I don’t see any player’s feeling “oppressed ” when they’re cashing their pay checks. People just want to watch football and not have to deal with these political activist. The media is helping divide this country too by reporting on this story for days.

    • Don’t the NFL have by-law? Regardless of freedom of speech, as a member of any organization and/or society, we need to abide by rules and regulations. Who runs who? I don’t care how good you are but you’re expendable. These athletes should just fall in-line and be thankful that they are being compensated a lot more than the people who run our country. Take charge America!

  • United we stand, divided we fall! It hurt and angers me to see people disrespect our anthem. More so when out United States President defends their stance because it’s their constitutional rights. Giving the middle finger is also a means of our freedom to express ourselves but good manners and good breeding keep us from abusing our constitutional right from doing so! If we do not refrain and or exercise self discipline for every single urged or desires without considering the consequences, then civilization as we know it will return to the barbaric level since our creation.

  • My mom is gone now but one of her messages to me as a young man was “You complain too much, best you count your blessings before feeling sorry for yourself”, a retired AF Colonel also remarked to me upon my lament of what I perceived as unfair treatment at my job, “Don’t complain unless you intend to do something about it”. Both life changing advice taken to heart. For these privileged athletes that have it all and seek only notoriety for their actions, supported by the media, I would suggest they put their efforts, time and money into making things better for their minority group versus simply demonstrating complaint, hoping others will take up their banner under their ‘Look at what I started’ name .

  • I think everyone got the message already. How long do they plan on doing this? I think they all would be more effective visiting neighborhoods where 6 year old girls get killed by stray bullets. Saving one life by doing that would be worth more than 10 years of sitting during the National Anthem.

  • The media coverage should be eliminated. What a waste of my time and like many TV viewers, I switch TV channels until I’m ready for the actual game kickoff.

    • That is because the fist in the air is the Black Power salute similar to what was done in the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Until fans start boycotting games for teams with players who feel the need to publicly disrespect the playing of the national anthem, this behavior will spread to other NFL players and teams

    • Just that attention grabbing what’s her name soccer player. But I did see black football players standing with their hands on their hearts and Amendola holding the flag on the field. They were just as impactful as the kneelers to me.

        • She did it because she wants equal rights for the LGBT community. But yes, just like colin sack-or-pick, wants attention. He will kneel (or sit) during today’s national anthem and will remain there the entire game lol Go rams

  • Just a bunch of copycats who want to get their pictures on the news. If they were really serious about this all, they would be working and contributing money in their
    respective black communities to help the people there. That is where the rubber meets the road, not this kind of silly demonstrations which amount to nothing of substance.
    What a joke.

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