'I gotta stand for something': NFL players stage walk-off protests before US anthem

When former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem of a pre-season game, the NFL struggled to deal with the fallout.

It’s been two years since Kaepernick made his stand, and there have been individual protests and team protests on a mass-scale ever since.

Philadelphia Eagles players Malcolm Jenkins and De’Vante Bausby raised their fists in protest during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner prior to their recent exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The move marks a resumption of the NFL players decision to protest during the playing of the pre-game anthem in order to raise awareness about social injustice in the USA.

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Philadelphia Eagles players raise their fists during the national anthem prior to an NFL game in October 2017. Pic: Getty

The NFL owners approved a new national anthem policy two months ago that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the anthem, and fines a team for any protest by its players.

The NFL decided to put a temporary hold on the implementation of that policy while it meets with the players’ union to find a solution.

Over in Jacksonville, Telvin Smith and three of his Jaguars teammates also protested the anthem in their first pre-season game of the year.

“As a man I got certain beliefs,” Smith told reporters.

“This is not going to become a distraction in Jacksonville, this is not going to be a distraction for this team.

“I got beliefs, I did what I did. I don’t know if it’s gonna be every week. I can’t answer if it’s going to be every week.

“As a man I gotta stand for something.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently stated that his team would require players to stand on the field for the national anthem no matter what rule the league settles on.

Colin Kaepernick protests during the pre-game anthem when he played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Pic: Getty

Jenkins said earlier that he is afraid the other owners are allowing Jones to speak for them.

“When you have owners like Jerry Jones who speak so strongly and who has drawn his line in the sand and has been very vocal about it, and you’ve had other owners be very quiet, Jerry Jones is now the voice of NFL ownership,” Jenkins said.

“So unless you have some other owners come out with some definitive statements and support, they’re going to allow Jerry Jones to push the narrative of not only NFL owners but NFL as a whole.”

with AFP/Yahoo US.