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Four Miami Dolphins players knelt during the national anthem on Sunday night, in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest against racial discrimination and police brutality. (Photo: Shaun King/Facebook)

With Locked Arms and Raised Fists, NFL Players Show Solidarity With Kaepernick

"They say it's not the time to do this. When is the time?"

Deirdre Fulton

The first Sunday of the National Football League's 2016 season saw several players in multiple cities express solidarity with Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest against racial injustice.

Following protests at high school games across the country on Friday and Saturday, ABC News reported on Sunday:

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raised his fist, four Miami Dolphins players knelt, and players from several other teams interlocked arms or raised their fists as an apparent sign of unity with Kaepernick, who began his protest last month during the NFL's preseason over what he said was the oppression of "black people and people of color."

"It's not about attention for me, though," Peters said after the game. "Don't talk about it—be about it. I come from a majority black community from Oakland, California. I grew up around my people a lot. I got family who's still in the struggle. All I'm saying is we need to educate the youth. If we keep educating the kids, then we eliminate these problems."

Dolphins running back Arian Foster, among the four players who knelt, said after the team lost to Seattle 12-10: "They say it's not the time to do this. When is the time? It's never the time in somebody else's eye, because they'll always feel like it's good enough. And some people don't. That's the beautiful thing about this country. If somebody feels it's not good enough, they have that right. That's all we're doing, exercising that right."

Meanwhile, Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin spoke on behalf of his teammates Saturday in a statement, explaining what the team planned to do.

"We are a team comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds," Baldwin said in a video. "And as a team, we have chosen to stand and interlock arms in unity. We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure that the riches of freedom, and the security of justice for all people. Progress can and will be made only if we stand together."

The Chiefs released a statement explaining their own demonstration:

After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the national anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity. It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone's opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11. It's our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed. Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community.

Additionally, the Huffington Post reports, New England Patriots Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty both raised their fists for the anthem ahead of Sunday's late game against the Arizona Cardinals, as several Tennessee Titans had earlier.

While at least one player, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, has lost an endorsement deal for kneeling during the anthem, Kaepernick's demonstration continues to catch fire.

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback and his teammate safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in his protest last week, plan to continue the action at Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams. Their teammate, 49ers receiver Torrey Smith said more players might also join.

"It leads to deeper conversations that need to be talked about, not just in our locker room, not just in barber shops around the country but everywhere," Smith told AL.com. "There are really issues. People get caught up in what Kap did by sitting down and not by the message that he's trying to send. I think that's the most important thing, to get people talking, and it's worked."


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