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NFL National Anthem Protests: Players Kneel, Raise Fists In Thursday Games

10 August, 2018, 08:58 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
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Several NFL players took a knee, raised fists or did not take to the field while the National Anthem was played Thursday night before preseason games.

The anthem controversy has been rumbling since 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.

The NFL's 32 team owners unanimously approved a new policy this offseason to require players to stand respectfully during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner", but the NFLPA appealed the rule.

Kaepernick tweeted Thursday night, lauding the action of two players who protested.

Thursday was the first full slate of 2018 NFL preseason games, one week after the Baltimore Ravens beat the Chicago Bears at the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The growing popularity of the peaceful protest particularly angered President Donald Trump, who said the act was unpatriotic and called for participating players to be fired. He said the team didn't agree with his belief that National Football League players should stand during the anthem.

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Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel as the anthem played and "spent the anthem walking toward the bench", the news outlet reported.

In Philadelphia, where the world champs played the Pittsburgh Steelers, Eagles captain and safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists during the anthem.

Players have criticized Goodell's ban, calling it an infringement on their right to protest peacefully. It was not immediately clear how many saw signs of protest.

"For me", he added, "this has never been about taking a knee, raising a fist or anyone's patriotism but doing what we can to effect real change for real people".

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