Most NFL players pause national anthem protests over Veterans Day weekend

Published November 12, 2017

As Americans reflected on Veterans Day weekend and some called for a boycott of the National Football League in response to player protests during the national anthem, few players were seen taking a knee on Sunday.

The league has faced pressure amid new outcry over the protests on social media, such as a Facebook page called “Boycott the NFL,”which boasted more than 227,000 followers and asked football fans to skip watching Sunday’s games “in solidarity with veterans around the country."

The San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid and Marquise Goodwin were the only members of the team seen kneeling. No other protests immediately emerged. The controversy started last year with a one-man effort by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he wanted to draw attention to police mistreatment of African-Americans across the U.S.

The NFL players' union previously said its members planned to observe a moment of silence for veterans at Sunday’s games, while various teams planned other Veterans Day tributes, the Washington Times reported.

The Atlanta Falcons said each of their players would be wearing the initials of a fallen service member on a special helmet decal.

Titans receiver Rishard Matthews walked onto the field holding hands with soldiers and stood with teammates for the anthem for the first time since President Donald Trump criticized players for protesting.

On Thursday night, all of the players with the Seattle Seahawks stood during the national anthem as part of the NFL's Salute to Service before playing the Arizona Cardinals, Q13 Fox reported.

As a massive American flag draped the field, guard Oday Aboushi, center Justin Britt, defensive linemen Dion Jordan, Frank Clark, Quinton Jefferson, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Jarran Reed, Branden Jackson, Nazair Jones, Sheldon Richardson and running back Thomas Rawls all stood, according to ESPN.

The team had several members of the defensive line sit during the national anthem in the past couple of weeks.

Michael Bennett, who was the first Seahawk to sit on the bench in the preseason, told NBC he did so in advance of Veterans Day, to make it clear he respects the military.

The league and its players union announced Saturday there would be “no change” in league policy regarding the on-field protests.

The protests broadened across the league in September, after President Trump told an Alabama crowd that any player protesting during the anthem should be removed from the field.

The president and other critics argued that the playing of the national anthem was the wrong time for protests, regardless of the reason, because the song represents U.S. national unity and respect for those who serve in the military.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2017/11/12/nfl-players-pause-national-anthem-protests-over-veterans-day-weekend.html