NFL players had been waiting months for the return of the unique platform that is live games in front of millions of TV viewers. On Sunday, those players were able to join their professional athlete peers in protesting recent racial injustices in the United States with on- and off-field demonstrations.
The league-wide demonstrations during the Sunday afternoon games of Week 1 were expected, especially after the Chiefs and Texans opened the 2020 season with protests of their own Thursday night. Houston remained in the locker room for the playing of the national anthem before that game, a demonstration that was repeated by a handful of NFL teams Sunday.
Of the players who were on the field during national anthems ahead of their games Sunday, many took knees and/or raised fists with others locking arms. The methods of protests varied from game-to-game and team-to-team, but all Sunday games featured demonstrations of some sort.
Below is a roundup of how each team protested racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem prior to the Sunday afternoon games of Week 1.
Seahawks vs. Falcons
Both teams were on the field for the national anthem, and a few Seahawks players took knees.
On the opening kickoff, all 22 players on the field stayed still and took knees on the field once the ball sailed out of the end zone for a touchback.
Jets vs. Bills
Neither the Jets nor the Bills were on the field for the national anthem.
Bears vs. Lions
Some Lions and Bears players stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. Of those who were on the field, many took knees and/or raised fists.
Packers vs. Vikings
The Packers stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. The Vikings were on the field with a few players taking knees.
Dolphins vs. Patriots
As they said they would, the Dolphins stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. The Patriots were on the field with all players standing.
Eagles vs. Washington
The Eagles stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. All Washington players stood on their sideline with some raising fists.
Raiders vs. Panthers
Both the Raiders and the Panthers were on the field for the national anthem. A few Carolina players took knees and/or raised fists.
Colts vs. Jaguars
The Jaguars stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. The Colts were on the field, and coach Frank Reich was the only person on Indy’s sideline to take a knee.
Browns vs. Ravens
Both the Browns and the Ravens were on the field for the national anthem with several players on both teams taking knees.
Chargers vs. Bengals
All Chargers and Bengals players stood in the middle of the field and locked arms during the national anthem.
Buccaneers vs. Saints
All Saints and Buccaneers players were on the field and standing for the national anthem. The exception was New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Cardinals vs. 49ers
The Cardinals stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. The 49ers were on the field with most players standing and a couple kneeling.
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