Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the pregame protest of racial oppression and inequality in the United States last season by sitting down during the national anthem before a preseason game, and then kneeling during the anthem in Week 1 and throughout the season. Kaepernick remains a free agent, but several NFL players have continued protesting the national anthem this season, including during the preseason.
Here are the players who protested in Week 1 (most recent updates first):
Seattle Seahawks: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett remained seated during the national anthem before the Seahawks’ opener against the Green Bay Packers. He was again flanked by center Justin Britt, who stood next to Bennett with a hand on Bennett’s shoulder. Running back Thomas Rawls was on the other side. Defensive end Cliff Avril again joined Bennett in sitting on the bench for the tail end of the anthem. Bennett last week accused police officers of racial profiling, saying they pointed guns at him and used excessive force during an incident in Las Vegas last month. — Brady Henderson
Green Bay Packers: Tight end Martellus Bennett stood at the far end of the Packers’ bench with his right fist in the air during the anthem before Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix didn’t protest, but he helped hold the giant flag at midfield before the game. Bennett said earlier this week that he wasn’t sure whether he would make any kind of protest during the national anthem after news of his brother Michael’s incident with police became public. When asked whether he would do anything during the anthem, he said: “I like to speak through my art, my words and things like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if I draw another political cartoon or some s—, but other than that, I don’t know right now. I’m more of a spur-of-the-moment-type guy, type of thing.”