Numerous players from the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos took a knee during the National Anthem before their Monday Night Football clash.
The Gazette reported 18 Broncos players participated in the peaceful protest. Bronco Quarterback Drew Lock showed support for his teammates by placing a hand on their backs during the anthem. One Denver player, Wide Receiver Diontae Spencer, raised his fist in the air during the anthem.
The Titans had fewer players take part in the process, according to The Gazette. Like Spencer, Linebacker Brian Orakpo stood with a raised fist as the anthem played.
Both teams lined the field as “Lift Every Voice” played prior to kickoff.
Titans and Broncos players choosing to demonstrate joined a large number of NFL players in standing up for racial equality. Players exercised their right to protest in several different ways. Some chose to kneel along the sidelines during the playing of the National Anthem. Others stayed inside their locker room until the anthem was finished.
Kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem was a common sight during the NFL’s opening weekend. The gesture started four years ago with San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Players say it is a form of peaceful protest to bring forth attention to social injustice and police brutality.
Like many other NFL teams did, the Denver Broncos issued a statement clarifying their stance on players’ right to peacefully demonstrate.
“Together with the players, we will continue to listen, grow and work to inspire change,” the organization says. “We are proud of the players and stand with them in the fight for equality.”
Fans React to Anthem Protest
Bronco fans sounded off on social media quickly after the statement went live prior to Monday night’s game. Fans expressed both support and disappointment in player’s action.
Other comments voiced support for players and their peaceful protests.
Almost every NFL team chose to demonstrate in some form or fashion during the league’s opening weekend.