DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — NFL teams offered a variety of displays against racial injustice Sunday following a summer of protests across the globe sparked by George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.
In the early Sunday games during the first weekend of NFL action, some players took a knee during the national anthem like Colin Kaepernick did several years ago when he started bringing attention to social injustices.
In Jacksonville, Florida, Indianapolis Colts players all stood during the national anthem while head coach Frank Reich took a knee. The Colts Twitter account sent out the message, “We will not be silent. We will not be neutral. We will not be passive.”
Elsewhere in the NFL, we saw Carolina Panthers players like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Robby Anderson kneel during the anthem as well as scattered players ahead of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens game.
While some teams, like the New England Patriots, stood during the “Star-Spangled Banner,” many teams like the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles remained in the locker room.
One of the most unique displays happened in Atlanta as Falcons and Seattle Seahawks players all knelt ahead of the opening kickoff.
In Washington, the Eagles and Washington Football Team locked arms in a sign of unity before their NFC East divisional showdown.
Many teams chose to follow the lead set by the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans who joined on the field Thursday for moment of unity before the first game of the NFL season at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The Chiefs linked arms and remained on the field for performances of the national anthem and “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, while the Texans, reportedly to avoid any appearance of selectivity, returned to the locker room for both songs.
As some fans booed, the players and coaches of both teams then met at midfield and linked arms for a moment of silence to honor the fight for racial justice and equality.
Earlier this year, the NFL admitted it was wrong and said it now supports Colin Kaepernick in his fight against racial injustice, opening the door for players to take a stand or a knee for the cause.
This season, NFL end zones will be inscribed this season with two slogans: “It Takes All Of Us” on one side, “End Racism” on the other. As part of its social justice awareness initiatives, the NFL also will allow similar visuals on helmets and caps. Those new efforts will debut during tonight’s NFL kickoff game.
This unprecedented season also kicks off in the middle of a global pandemic, which has greatly altered preparations for the game, with COVID-19 forcing the NFL to cancel the entire offseason, including all preseason games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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