NFL players continue to protest during national anthem as pre-season begins

The NFL pre-season got underway on Thursday night with several players staging protests during the national anthem.

Two Philadelphia Eagles players raised their fists ahead of their pre-season loss of 14-31 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, one Miami Dolphins player did likewise and two other Dolphins' took a knee.

Seattle Seahawks' Duane Brown, Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson went into the locker room during the singing of 'The Star Spangled Banner', returning after it ended to re-join their team-mates.

Following Seattle's 17-19 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Brown releaved he is "likely to stay in the locker room for the anthem all season".

Jefferson stated: "I can't go out there and stand for something I really don't believe in. It doesn't make sense to me. You shouldn't be forced to stand for what you don't believe. It's a free country."

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive back De'Vante Bausby held up their fists while standing on the sideline with their team-mates before their game.

Jenkins took to social media on Thursday and said: "Before we enjoy this game lets take some time to ponder that more than 60 per cent of the prison population are people of colour.

"The NFL is made up of 70 per cent African Americans. What you witness on the field does not represent the reality of everyday America. We are the anomalies."

Dolphins receivers Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills knelt as the anthem played with their defensive end Robert Quinn raising his right first.

President of the United States Donald Trump weighed in heavily on the topic - which saw numerous players kneeling throughout the 2017 season - stating the players were "disrespecting the flag".

The league then introduced a new policy banning on-field protests, however, the NFL put this on hold to have talks with the NFL Players Association over how to best get their message of social injustice across.

In July, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he wanted all his players to stand during the anthem and they would not be able to stay indoors.

In the same month, the Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had to backtrack on the franchise's decision to potentially suspend players who protested for up to four games due to proposed talks between the NFL and the NFLPA.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016 to protest against social injustices.


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