The National Football League’s co-opting of Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest about adverse conditions black citizens and other people of color face into a gesture about unity and solidarity came full circle Sunday, as the New Orleans Saints opted to kneel prior to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Saints collectively rose with locked arms once the singing of the national anthem began as they squared off in an exhibition game in London against the Miami Dolphins.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees confirmed the gestures would take place days before as he made the announcement via Twitter September 29.
As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem & stand together during the anthem.— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) September 29, 2017
“As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem [and] stand together during the anthem,” Brees tweeted.
Three Miami Dolphins players—Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas—continued to kneel as the national anthem was sung in Wembley Stadium Sunday.
“I think it’s a good combination of showing unity and also paying tribute to the actual reason why everybody’s taking a knee,” Saints defensive back Kenny Vaccaro told ESPN. “It has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, disrespecting the military.”
Don’t expect to see any additional live anthem coverage on Fox Sports, which has television rights to NFC Conference NFL games. The network announced last week’s practice of airing live footage during the anthem will end.
FOX will air the anthem and God Save The Queen from the London game. No live anthem coverage today from other games. Fox statement: pic.twitter.com/DOIgzy97Qm— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) October 1, 2017
“As we have in previous broadcasts of NFL games from London, Fox will show the National Anthem as well as God Save the Queen live,” a statement from Fox read in part. “As is standard procedure, regionalized coverage of NFL game airing on FOX this Sunday will not show the National Anthem live; however, our cameras are always rolling and we will document the response of players and coaches on the field.”