UPDATE 5:30 PM PST: Prior to their game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Indiana Colts released a statement on their Twitter account that said: “Recently, there have been several misperceptions regarding a personal choice made by members of our team to bring awareness to prevailing issues facing our nation. To be clear – those of us who kneeled did not intend to disrespect our flag, our National Anthem or those who serve our country. We all have family and friends who are servicemen and women. We appreciate and respect the incredible sacrifices they make.”
It continues, “But as NFL players, we have a platform. And as Americans, we have a responsibility to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Our intention was to raise awareness and to continue critical conversations about real equality, the injustices against black and brown people, police brutality, respect, unity, and equal opportunity.”
The statement goes on to say that they will respect all forms of peaceful protests before ending with “Kneeling for JUSTICE. Standing for UNITY. Fighting for EQUALITY. Showing RESPECT.”
The team also sent out a tweet with a picture of a T-shirt worn by the players during their warmups. On the front, it says “We Will” while the back says “Stand For” followed by the words equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue and opportunity.
Earlier this week, the Seahawks took a different route to create change. Still in line with the kneeling movement started by Colin Kaepernick, the team posted an invitation to take action via the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund which supports education and leadership programs addressing equality and justice.
During tonight’s national anthem, members of the Colts were seen standing. The majority of the Seahawks were standing as well.
EARLIER: The national anthem controversy continued in Sunday’s NFL games, as a mixed reception was granted to its performance by the players. Some individuals knelt, others stood with arms locked.
Following who was doing what was complicated by television largely opting away from spotlighting the protests. Fox Sports said before the games that it would not televise the national anthems of most games. “As is standard procedure, regionalized coverage of NFL games airing on FOX this Sunday will not show the National Anthem live; however, our cameras are always rolling and we will document the response of players and coaches on the field.”
Reports indicated that the London game featuring the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins did not show the three players kneeling for the Dolphins, even though the national anthems of both countries were televised.
The biggest protest during the NFL day games happened at the start of the Arizona game between the Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. About 30 San Francisco players took a knee during the anthem, and the rest of the team stood behind them. All had hand their hands on their hearts. They were joined by the 49ers general manager, John Lynch, a former player, and team CEO Jed York. All of the Arizona team was standing for the anthem.
In Los Angeles, all of the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers stood during the anthem, but Eagles Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod raised their fists while the rest of the players locked arms. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was seen in the crowd – he was standing for the anthem.
Veteran Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch entered Sports Authority field in Denver for his game against the Denver Broncos wearing an “Everybody vs. Trump” t-shirt.
Lynch sat during the national anthem, as he usually does. The rest of his Oakland team was standing. All of the Denver Broncos stood during the anthem, with Brandon Marshall raising a fist.
In the New York Giants game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon knelt for the second straight week. The rest of the Giants stood with arms linked, while two other Giants, Landon Collins and Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison, stood arm-in-arm and held up their fists. On the other sideline, all of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stood.
One of the biggest protests of the early games happened in Atlanta, where the visiting Buffalo Bills had six players kneel. Kaelin Clay, Cedric Thornton, Mike Tolbert, Shareece Wright, Taiwan Jones and Jerel Worthy knelt during the national anthem. The rest of the Bills players stood with their arms locked.
For the Atlanta Falcons, the entire team stood on the sidelines with arms locked. Last week, Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe took a knee during the national anthem, but both stood this week.
CNN reported the Pittsburgh Steelers team drew thunderous boos from its crowd when it emerged onto the home playing field. In coordination with its opponents, the Baltimore Ravens, both squads knelt separately before the anthem, drawing boos. But both teams then rose when it was performed.
The Steelers opted to stand for the anthem after staying in the tunnel before the anthem last week. A lone Steeler, guard Alejandro Villaneuva, stood outside the tunnel with hands on heart. His jersey was briefly the best-seller among NFL players as a result. He later apologized for inadvertently showing up his teammates.
The Detroit Lions had two players kneel before the anthem at their game with the Minnesota Vikings. Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa kneeled during the national anthem. All other Detroit players locked arms.
At MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the Jacksonville Jaguars knelt as a team and allegedly prayed before the anthem, then rose with arms linked for its singing. The New York Jets stood with arms linked on their sideline.
The Tennessee Titans versus Houston Texans game in Texas saw the Houston players link arms. For the Titans, Rishard Matthews of the Titans remained in the locker room rather than stand with his teammates during the anthem. Jurrell Casey, Wesley Woodyard, Brian Orakpo and DaQuan Jones raised their fists as the anthem finished.
In New England, the NFL champion New England Patriots stood on the sidelines at attention minutes before the anthem, then put their right hands over their hearts and left hands on each other’s shoulders.
As predicted by wide receiver Dez Bryant late last week, the Dallas Cowboys stood at attention during the anthem, but defensive end Damontre Moore raised a fist as the anthem ended. The so-called “America’s Team” knelt before last week’s anthem, joined by owner Jerry Jones, but rose with linked arms for its performance. The visiting Los Angeles Rams also stood at attention, but Rams outside linebacker Robert Quinn raised his fist.
All Rams and Cowboys players stood during the national anthem. Dallas remains one of six teams not to kneel, sit or raise a fist during the national anthem. Rams outside linebacker Robert Quinn raised his fist. Cowboys defensive end Damontre Moore raised his fist as the anthem ended.
Last week, the Cleveland Browns had a large contingent of players kneeling. This week, they stood as a team, but at least nine players raised their fists during the anthem. The players with raised fists were Christian Kirksey, Jason McCourty, Randall Telfer, Isaiah Crowell, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Larry Ogunjobi, Kenny Britt, Dominique Alexander and Ibraheim Campbell. Their opponents, the Cincinnati Bengals, all stood during the anthem.
In London at Wembley Stadium, the New Orleans Saints kneeled in solidarity before the anthem was played, but rose for its performance. But three members of the Miami Dolphins – Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas – were seen kneeling at the end of the sideline. All three have been actively involved in the kneeling protest since it was started last year by Colin Kaepernick, a former 49ers quarterback who is no longer in the league.
President Donald Trump refused to let the matter die, retweeting a couple of Twitter posts on Sunday advocating standing for the anthem. Yesterday, he tweeted that it was “very important” for players to stand for the anthem this week. “Respect our flag and country!”