How NFL players protested before Sunday’s games

Report NFL won’t implement new national anthem policy this season allowing protests to continue

Report NFL won’t implement new national anthem policy this season allowing protests to continue

On Sunday, Trump said National Football League ratings could decline further if players do not stand for the anthem and if television networks do not broadcast the pregame ceremony.

Even though Colin Kaepernick would later join Trump in tweeting about the issue, however, it was a relatively quiet day as it pertained to the issue, with most of the discussion on the league's first Sunday focused on the action on the field. Only two of them - Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills of the Dolphins - kneeled while the "Star-Spangled Banner" played.

It was Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers, who sparked the anthem controversy by kneeling during the pregame ritual in 2016 - his way of protesting policy brutality and social injustice in America.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (left) and Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (right) both kneel during the national anthem prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium.

Stills, who talks often with Kaepernick, said he senses increasing support for the protesters as their cause is better understood.

Kaepernick was last week announced as the face of Nike's powerful "Believe in something".

The game drew a 13.4 overnight rating, according to the network, that was the lowest in 10 years for a season opener.

Back in May team owners approved a policy requiring players to stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room. Philadelphia Eagles players Michael Bennett and Jay Ajayi took a seat on the bench near the end of the anthem before Thursday's regular season opener, but there were no other visible protests. When that policy met with heavy criticism, it was put on hold while the league and players' association discussed other options.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted a reference to USA television ratings for Thursday's game, which started late due to bad weather. Of the 2,880 players who were on the sidelines for preseason games this year, only two players took a knee and one sat during the anthem.

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