NFL stars defy kneeling ban with creative protests during national anthem

Malcolm Jenkins- cropped

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins

Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins and De'Vante Bausby raised a fist, as did San Francisco 49ers' Marquise Goodwin and Miami Dolphins' Robert Quinn, while his team-mates Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers.

The protests about racial injustice and social inequality led players to kneel during the anthem and it was a big issue at National Football League games last season.

The NFL's 32 team owners unanimously approved a new policy this offseason to require players to stand respectfully during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner", but the NFLPA appealed the rule. The Dolphins issued a statement before training camp saying all options regarding the team's policy remain open.

"My brother @kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee".

Stills has routinely knelt for the anthem during his time with the team.

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"The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans", the statement read. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the team discussed the topic and chose to support individual decisions. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith, and running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon joined teammates on the sideline after the anthem.

However, that policy, announced in May, was put on hold last month when the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to suspend enforcement of the new rules.

The league noted that while players won't be disciplined, it expects all players on the field to stand during the presentation of the flag and the anthem.

It was a show of solidarity with the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice, launched by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in May.

Jefferson, Jackson and Brown were among the Seahawks players who sat during the anthem last season.

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