Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the national anthem on Thursday night in the preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not to mention, Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist.
The actions to protest social injustices were the first of the preseason in the NFL.
And, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback DeVante Bausby also raised fists ahead of their preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dolphins' Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson were kneeling during national anthem before tonight's games. Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins and De'Vante Bausby each raised a fist.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) August 9, 2018
It has been nearly two years since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem in protest of social injustices, sparking a movement among players like Stills and Wilson. Earlier this spring, the NFL imposed a rule requiring players to stand for the anthem.
The league has since put the rule on hold.
The NFL released a statement on the protests shortly after on Thursday night, too, reiterating that no discipline can be enforced for violating the anthem policy while it continues discussions with the NFLPA.
NFL statement on at least two players, #Dolphins WRs Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, kneeling during the national anthem tonight. No clubs can implement discipline while talks with union continue. pic.twitter.com/dx22XiNYhN
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 10, 2018
“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. “While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.
“Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL’s policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at the time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.
“We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issue affecting our communities.”
Stills was awarded the Dolphins’ community service awards the past two years. He participates in a number of youth organizations and was a team captain last year. He was asked by reporters earlier this spring whether he would kneel.
“When the time comes where I have to make a decision,” Stills told the Palm Beach Post, “I’ll make a decision.”
Now, it is clear he has.
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