The National Football League may have found the perfect solution to its ongoing national anthem protest problem – pay it no mind.
Thanks to an unofficial decision not to enforce any national anthem conduct code for this season – and with the cooperation of networks that no longer cover the song’s performance – the spotlight on athletes who choose to protest during the anthem has withered.
As it stands, only a handful of die-hard NFL players are continuing to demonstrate during the national anthem, most of them holdovers from last year’s protests.
In today’s early games, Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during the national anthem before their game against the New York Jets, while defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist, a continuation of the protest he has staged since the start of the 2016 season.
All three players have said they will continue protesting for the remainder of the year, with Stills saying, “We’re not going anywhere.”
For the Philadelphia Eagles, safety Malcolm Jenkins stood on the sideline during the national anthem. It was the second straight week Jenkins, considered one of the leaders of the protest movement, has taken the field during the song. He waited in the tunnel during the pre-season while the anthem was performed.
His teammate, defensive end Michael Bennett, again skipped the anthem and joined his teammates on the sideline after its conclusion.
There have been no other reports from the early games on other protests.