During Week 1 of the NFL’s new season, several teams took the opportunity to protest for social justice and changes. In the wake of George Floyd, the league has embraced demonstrations against racism and inequality. Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the national anthem kneeling movement, called the NFL’s demonstrations “propaganda.”
Here’s what each team did during the first week of the season.
NFL teams Kansa City Chiefs and Houston Texans came together for a moment of unity.
In the NFL season opener, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans united together for a “moment of silence” for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Fans can be heard booing the demonstration. The Chiefs also stood in the end zone for a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Alicia Keys. The song has become known as the black national anthem. The Texans chose to remain in the locker room for both the song and the national anthem.
Both the Seahawks and Falcons knelt during the opening kickoff.
Both the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons stood together for a pre-game rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” During the national anthem, several Seahawks players took a knee including K.J Wright and Will Dissly. Additionally, Jamal Adams raised his fist during the anthem, according to Yahoo Sports.
Both teams also simultaneously took a knee on opening kickoff of the game. The two team’s quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson organized the demonstration.
Both the Jets and Bills chose to remain in the NFL locker rooms.
Both the the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills remained in the locker room during the national anthem in protest of social inequalities.
Bills defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson had Antwon Rose, Jr.’s name on his helmet. Rose was killed in a 2018 police shooting. Likewise, Bills cornerback Levi Wallace had Ahmaud Arbery’s name on his helmet. Arbery was murdered earlier this year in Georgia while jogging.
“It’s definitely difficult… because you want to let your presence be felt but you also don’t want to make a big distraction,” Dion Dawkins, a Bills offensive lineman, said.