Their action Monday—the largest the league has seen so far—follows protests by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who dominated national headlines last season, garnering both praise and condemnation, when he refused to stand for the national anthem—first sitting, then kneeling. At the time, Kaepernick told NFL Media:

Other NFL players expressed solidarity with Kaepernick last season. Some of his teammates and players across the country “locked arms, raised their fists, or knelt during or just after the national anthem during the first big day of the league’s 2016 season,” ABC News reported last September. Despite the support, those who knelt with Kaepernick were people of color; however, DeValve’s participation Monday, as well as actions by others during this year’s preseason, indicate a shift.

At least three other white NFL players have protested during the anthem during the 2017 pre-season, but “those three players—the Eagles’ Chris Long, the Seahawks’ Justin Britt and the Raiders’ Derek Carr—stood while showing support for black teammates,” the Washington Post reported.

Even so, Kaepernick’s protests last season may have impacted his future in the NFL. He currently remains a free agent—meaning the quarterback has no team for this season, and at this point, it’s unlikely he’ll find one. His preseason on the sidelines has left some of his critics feeling vindicated, but has also provoked calls for an NFL boycott if Kaepernick remains unsigned.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *