The NFL’s preseason schedule kicked off in full on Thursday night with a number of players protesting during the national anthem. Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt before the team’s preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to reports. Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De’Vante Bausby and 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin all raised their fists. Other players remained in the tunnel while the anthem was played.
Here’s video of Stills and Wilson:
Unsurprisingly, it took President Trump little time to denounce the protesting players on Twitter, specifically Stills and Wilson.
Trump, who is on a “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf club, has made a habit out of blasting both the protesting NFL players and the league itself for not cracking down on them, at least in part because his base supports his stance on the matter. And he’s a bit off when he says “most of that money goes to the players anyway”: Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the players’ share of league revenue is capped at 48.5 percent this season.
The NFL is working with its labor union on a new national anthem policy after the one it issued in May was not well received. It has put that policy on hold and said Thursday night in a statement that the players protesting during the preseason games would not be punished. Nevertheless, the league said players “are expected to stand” during the anthem if they choose to be on the field during its playing.
Colin Kaepernick, who kick-started the practice of kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness of social inequality, praised Stills and Wilson for kneeling.
Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate who similarly has yet to sign with another team, also said on Twitter that he had the back of the protesting Dolphins players:
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