NFL regular season opener sees no kneeling during national anthem

The NFL's regular season officially kicked off on Thursday night but the controversial protests that have accompanied the league appeared muted.

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No players from the Philadelphia Eagles or the Atlanta Falcons were seen kneeling during The Star-Spangled Banner at Lincoln Financial Field in Pennsylvania, which was pushed back due to a rain delay.

OPINION: OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM BRINGS US TOGETHER AS AMERICANS NO MATTER WHAT TEAM WE ROOT FOR - LET'S STAND UP

Defensive end Michael Bennett — who spent the national anthem of a preseason game last month sitting on the bench — repeated his action Thursday, by again sitting on a bench.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who raised his fist in protest weeks ago, didn't appear to repeat the gesture Thursday night.

The preseason opener comes days after Nike reignited the controversy by revealing that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the face of a new ad.

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The "Just Do It" ad featured Kaepernick's face, with superimposed text reading: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Kaepernick kicked off the controversial protests in September 2016, calling attention to social injustices and racial inequality. In the years since, it's sparked a national discussion about patriotism, and drew sharp vitriol from President Trump, who condemned those who kneeled as disrespectful to America.

Trump in June uninvited the Super Bowl champion Eagles from visiting the White House. He said the team didn't agree with his belief that NFL players should stand during the anthem.

The NFL modified its national anthem protocol in May, prohibiting any sort of demonstrations for the 2018 season, but allowing players to remain in the locker room during the anthem if they chose to. Individual teams would be responsible for disciplining any demonstrators.

The players' union filed a grievance about the policy change, and in July, the new policy was put on hold while the NFL and NFL Players Association work on a resolution.