NFL fans have expressed dismay at how the NFL has become "politicized" following recent protests against Black Lives Matter.
The teams, which opened their season on Sunday in empty stadiums, kneeled down, crossed their arms, raised their fists in protest or stayed for the & # 39; Star-Spangled Banner & # 39; and the black anthem & # 39; Lift Every Voice and Sing & # 39; off the field as the once reluctant league brought racial injustice to the fore on the NFL's first full list of games.
But the gesture sparked strong emotions in some fans who were already unhappy when the players knelt for the national anthem, which began when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first got on his knees in 2016.
The problem has since been exacerbated after the NFL announced it would add "Every Voice and Sing" ahead of all 2020 season opening games.
The Los Angeles Chargers stand arm in arm before their game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati
Los Angeles Rams players on the sidelines during the national anthem before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi
The Cincinnati Bengals stand arm in arm as Lift Every Voice and Sing plays before an NFL soccer game
The Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals stand on the field during the national anthem at the start of their game on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium
There was a deluge of tweets from NFL supporters who were unhappy about the political messages and “social justice” actions that spilled over into their soccer game
"I think the NFL is making a big mistake when it comes to not aligning their product with the football game and political agendas of some of their players," said Andy Duffrin, a Green Bay Packers fan of Marinette, Wisconsin, told Green Bay Press Gazette. "The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding you are trying to serve is not going to taste very good to many loyal fans."
In a recent poll by the Washington Post, 56% of Americans said it was appropriate for athletes to kneel during the national anthem. 42% said it was inappropriate.
The sideline of the Los Angeles Rams during the national anthem before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on Sunday
Chicago Bears players on the sidelines during the national anthem against the Detroit Lions during an NFL soccer game on Sunday
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) and teammates kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday
Detroit Lions players on the sidelines during the national anthem against Chicago Bears during an NFL game on Sunday
But on Sunday, NFL fans on Twitter expressed anger at what they'd seen in stadiums across the country.
"The NFL is done," said one fan simply.
Many were unhappy with the apparent transition from politics and "social justice" into play.
& # 39; End Racism is written in an NFL End Zone. WTF is the scenario in which a racist sees this and addresses his problems. They're just the laziest, most performative cops ***, "said one fan.
& # 39; NFL is a totally fucking show with it's transition into politics and & # 39; social justice & # 39; nobody wants to see that ***! Roger Goodell and your reviews will soon prove just that to be true, stupid ***! & # 39;
A Denver Broncos fan posted a video of setting fire to his Denver Broncos flag.
“I loved seeing my broncos, but I love my country more. To HELL with the NFL and the players! God bless our troops and God bless America. & # 39;
A Denver Broncos fan decided to burn his team's flag and captured the moment on a video that he then posted on Twitter
The former Denver Bronco fan ended the video burning the team flag by holding up the stars and stripes
A Twitter user appeared to be asking for the NFL and coverage of the games to keep politics out of the sport
Some fans weren't happy that the players stood for the "black anthem" and still kneeled for the national anthem
The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers joined arms and stood against racial inequality for a moment
The Baltimore Ravens players gather before the NFL soccer game against the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore on Sunday
Another user, Clay Travis from Nashville, expressed his displeasure with the Baltimore Ravens.
The ravens stood for the black national anthem. And then most of the team knelt for the national anthem. This, my friends, looks REALLY bad, ”he wrote.
"I wouldn't know because I'll never watch NFL football again," replied another.
A female fan from Arizona expressed similar feelings.
& # 39; I love my country; I hate the NFL, ”Victoria Martel tweeted.
The NFL and other professional sports leagues are advocating drawing attention to the treatment of black people by law enforcement after George Floyd's death by police in Minneapolis on May 25.
One Baltimore Ravens fan gave the team kneeling in front of the national anthem a "bad look" while another replied that they would never see the NFL again
One fan made it clear how much she loved her country but hated the NFL
Members of the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles close their arms and form an oval on the field before an NFL football game begins in Landover, Maryland on Sunday
The Carolina Panthers players react during the national anthem at Bank of America Stadium, with some of the players raising their fists
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, knelt for the first time in 2016
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL should have taken Kaepernick and other players' protests more seriously from the start.
The NFL has pledged $ 250 million to support social justice, in addition to extra money for individual teams. The Packers have pledged $ 500,000 and Murphy has pledged $ 250,000 to Wisconsin-based organizations. Many players also have foundations through which they support local and national causes.
But Kaepernick's tweet on Sunday suggested he was still skeptical that something had changed in the league.
& # 39; While the NFL is doing propaganda about how they care about black life, they will still actively blacken Eric Reid for the fight for the black community. Eric set two franchise records last year and is one of the best defensive players in the league. & # 39;
Reid was a former security for the 49ers and Carolina Panthers.
He was the second player behind Kaepernick to take part in kneeling protests during the national anthem performances before the NFL games.
Wayne Sargent, of Campbellsport, who runs a Green Bay Packers fan club, believes teams should stick to entertainment rather than political messages.
"Lately, teams and players have turned professional sport into an arena for social and political outcry," said Sargent. “Professional sport should not be used as a platform for expression, but for the pleasure of its fans – those fans who support their teams and players. If this behavior continues, I really believe that the only fans in the stands could be made of cardboard. & # 39;
New England Patriots, including head coach Bill Belichick (left), quarterback Cam (1) and defenseman Terrence Brooks (25), stand while singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing".
A Kansas City Chiefs team tried to explain the negative reaction from fans.
Kaepernick appeared upset that the NFL was pushing its social justice initiatives while his former teammate Eric Reid stayed a free agent to start the season
New England Patriots stand while singing & # 39; Lift Every Voice and Sing & # 39; of Alicia Keys on video screen prior to an NFL soccer game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Back online, NFL fan Luke Silver didn't hold back: & # 39; NFL is a totally damn show with it's transition into politics and & # 39; social justice & # 39; that nobody wants to see. Roger Goodell and your reviews will soon prove just that to be true, fool! & # 39;
Evan Gearing of Georgetown, Texas said the recent ad was making it difficult for him to continue supporting the NFL.
& # 39; That makes it very difficult for this lifelong soccer fan to watch games again. And I'm someone who had a bucket list to watch a game in every stadium. Has been in at least 10 stages so far. Planned vacation at nfl. Not anymore, I haven't seen a game since 2017. & # 39;
Ken Zimmer of Texas tweeted his thoughts on the subject along with a picture of the entire Washington team kneeling on the sidelines.
NFL players expressing hatred of their own country. Career suicide. At some point it will end badly. And your income will be affected. #Disgrace #UnAmerican & # 39 ;.
Baltimore Ravens remain silent during the prelude to the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium
The New England Patriots are on the contact line before the game starts on Sunday
An NFL fan declared "Done!" after being "exposed" to kneeling players, fists in the air and the black national anthem
Another fan said they hadn't seen an NFL game in three years but were a lifelong soccer fan until 2017
Chicago Bears Roquan Smith (58), Josh Woods (55), Joel Iyiegbuniwe (45) and James Vaughters (93) listen during the national anthem before their NFL soccer game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit
A Kansas City Chiefs fan tried to explain the fans' negative reaction.
“Football fans don't fuck racial equality and justice. They are booing the far left, undoing the nuclear family and capitalism rhetoric that has been shoved down their throats in the past 5 months. We were already for the unit. I am proud of the KC fans.
A self-proclaimed Trump supporter tweeted using the hashtag BoycottNFL how he believed NFL players were "overpaid losers".
"Fire them all up and let's see what jobs they can find to contribute to society instead of throwing a ball around and making millions on it … during which we don't do anything damn but kneel down during our great national anthem," he wrote.
& # 39; I tried to watch the NFL today against my better judgment. I saw players kneeling, fists in the air, players kneeling in the middle of the field instead of defending a break and being exposed to the "Black National Anthem". I'M DONE! #BoycottNFL & # 39; wrote another.
Cleveland Brown's wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge (12) kneels before an NFL soccer game against the Baltimore Ravens
Members of the Carolina Panthers gesture during the Nation Anthem prior to their game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Charlotte, North Carolina
One man believed the NFL teams would see it "end badly", suggesting it was "career suicide" for the contestants
The anger boiled over a tweet from a Trump supporter who suggested firing the players all and contributing to society in other ways
The players kneeled in memory of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., During the first half of an NFL soccer game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks in Atlanta on Sunday
On the fields, Seattle's Jason Myers kicked the ball through the end zone to open the Seattle season in Atlanta. Nobody else in the field moved. Instead, the Seahawks and Falcons fell to one knee where they had stood.
After years of asking their league to crack down on systemic racism, the NFL players were willing to wait another 10 seconds to make their point.
In Atlanta, the teams wore armbands in honor of civil rights leader John Lewis and staged the most noticeable gestures of the day: They watched the first push for a touchback sail through the end zone, fell to one knee, and stayed trot off the field for about 10 seconds to continue the game.
"We're taking this moment and making it a movement, not just as a race, community or team, but as a nation," Falcons defender Steven Means said in a team statement. "It's time to get up, get up and vote."
The Washington soccer team kneels before their game in Landover, Maryland on Sunday
New England Patriots stand while singing & # 39; Lift Every Voice and Sing & # 39; before their game against the Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots' Cam Newton # 1 stands with teammates while Alicia Keys streams "Lift Every Voice and Sing" prior to the game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Cleveland Browns players kneel before playing the national anthem during an NFL soccer game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday
Lewis, the Georgia Congressman who died in July, has been named Honorary Captain of the Game. The hawks also wore shirts with his quote: "Voting is the most powerful, non-violent change maker you have in a democratic society."
While fans were absent from everywhere except Jacksonville because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minnesota Vikings were home to the family of George Floyd, who died in May in a videotaped murder that sparked national protests against police brutality against black men.
Vikings players locked their guns in the end zone about half an hour before their game against Green Bay for "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the song unofficially known as the Black National Anthem and as part of every week 1 game The game played was NFL's "Social Awakening".
The Packers stayed in their locker room for the two songs, followed by the Miami Dolphins, who said in a video last week that they would stay off the field for the national anthem instead of participating in "empty gestures".
Cleveland Brown's wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge (12) kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens. The dreary conditions were caused by fireworks before the game
Members of the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles form an oval on the field before the game starts
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and Greg Olsen (88) of Seattle Seahawks pray with Atlanta Falcons long snapper Josh Harris (47) and Atlanta Falcons Todd Gurley (21) in Atlanta
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets also stayed in their locker rooms for the pregame ceremonies.
“We don't need another advertising parade. So we'll just stay inside until it's time to play the game, ”Miami players said in the video. & # 39; This attempt to unite only creates more gap. So we're going to skip the song and dance and as a team we'll stay inside. & # 39;
Other teams stood on their sidelines or along the goal line and locked their arms.
A few dozen players – as well as Indianapolis coach Frank Reich – knelt down during the anthem, a silent echo of the 2016 Kaepernick protest.
Several teams stressed Sunday that their protest was not unpatriotic – a point Kaepernick also highlighted, but which was often drowned out by those – including President Donald Trump – who broached the issue.
"To be clear – we weren't protesting the flag, the anthem, or the men and women who wear the uniform," the Colts said in a statement. "The timing of this action is intended to highlight that the existence, power and suppression of racism are incompatible with the unity and freedoms of what it means to be American."
Teammates and officials of the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles stand together before the game
A sign saying Black Lives Matter is displayed in Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium
Falcon owner Arthur Blank and Patriot owner Robert Kraft joined their teams as they lined up on the goal line as "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was played before their games. Quarterback Cam Newton, who made his New England debut against Miami, appeared to be singing along.
The dolphins stayed in their locker room as they promised in their 2-minute 15-second video in which nearly 20 players exchanged pointed rhymes about the nation's social protest movement.
When the anthem started in Detroit, a crowd of lions left the field and headed towards their locker room. Some stayed in the field and knelt. On the other hand, several Bears players kneeled while about 20 of their teammates waited for the anthem to end before jogging onto the pitch.
The NFL has been at the center of protests against social justice in American sport since Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 to draw attention to the systematic repression of blacks in the United States.
Baltimore Ravens Cornerback Marlon Humphrey, ganz rechts, kniet neben seinen Teamkollegen während eines Songs, in dem die Rassengerechtigkeit gewürdigt wird, bevor am Sonntag ein NFL-Fußballspiel gegen die Cleveland Browns ausgetragen wird
Quarterback Joe Burrow # 9 der Cincinnati Bengals, Teamkollegen und die Los Angeles Chargers stehen während der US-Nationalhymne im Paul Brown Stadium in Einheit
Ronnie Harrison # 33 und KhaDarel Hodge # 12 der Cleveland Browns knien während der Nationalhymne, bevor sie am Sonntag gegen den Baltimore Raven spielen
Kaepernick, der San Francisco 2012 zum Super Bowl und im nächsten Jahr zum NFC-Titelspiel führte, konnte 2017 – oder seitdem – keinen Job in der Liga bekommen.
Aber die Fußballliga war in ihrer Nebensaison, als Breonna Taylor im März von der Polizei in Louisville in ihrer eigenen Wohnung erschossen wurde. als ein weißer Polizist aus Minneapolis im Mai fast acht Minuten lang sein Knie auf Floyds Nacken drückte und ihn tötete; als Jacob Blake im August von der Polizei in Kenosha, Wisconsin, erschossen und gelähmt wurde; und als Proteste gegen diese und andere Gewaltakte gegen schwarze Amerikaner im ganzen Land ausbrachen.
Goodell veröffentlichte im Juni ein Video, in dem er zugab, dass die Liga das Problem zu spät erkannt hatte. Seitdem hat die Liga weitgehend symbolische Schritte unternommen, wie das Zulassen von Nachrichten zur Rassengerechtigkeit in Endzonen sowie auf Helmen und T-Shirts.
Einige Teambesitzer haben Geld für soziale Gerechtigkeit zugesagt oder ihre Stadien als Wahllokale für die Novemberwahlen angeboten.
Baltimore Ravens Spieler versammeln sich auf dem Spielfeld vor und NFL Fußballspiel gegen die Cleveland Browns in Baltimore
Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Football Team takes a knee before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 13 in Landover, Maryland, left while right, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) kneels during a song in honor of Black Lives Matter, before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore
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