NFL players join protest on national stage

Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers continue their protest of racial injustice during the national anthem on Sept. 11, 2016.

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Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers continue their protest of racial injustice during the national anthem on Sept. 11, 2016.

NFL Sunday opened on Sept. 11 this season, and players have been protesting during the ceremonial pregame national anthem.

Support for Colin Kaepernick’s protest shows just how big of an issue the United State’s racial injustice is, as athletes choose to protest in spite the consequences.

With 9/11 being a time to remember those who have fallen and to show pride for the country, many thought Kaepernick’s protest would not covered heavily during opening week. But these games are the biggest platform for NFL players to protest from. Because of the protests, several games are now on National broadcasting networks like ESPN, and NBC.

Kaepernick isn’t the only athlete to protest lately. Many have joined in, all protesting in different ways. The Seattle Seahawks, as a team, joined arms during the national anthem in a sign of unity and an agreement of progress. Players from the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams had several players holding up their fist as a symbol of black pride.

“I was just stating how I’m black, and I love being black.” Kansas City Chief cornerback Marcus Peters said in an interview after the game. “I’m supporting Colin in what he’s doing as far as raising awareness with the justice system.”

Athletes not only risk losing fans with their expression of protest, but many athletes risk losing sponsors. Denver Broncos Brandon Marshall lost the Air Academy Federal Credit Union (AAFCU) as a sponsor, in response to his kneel down during the national anthem on opening day.

“While we respect Brandon’s right of expression his actions are not a representation of our organization and membership,” President and CEO of AAFCU Glenn Strebe said in an official statement.

Support reaches sports away from football as well, as Seattle Reign FC Megan Rapinoe has been kneeling during the national anthem before soccer games. Recently, in a game in Maryland, the Washington Spirit chose to play the national anthem before Rapinoe could reach the field to deny her protest. On Sunday she chose to lock arms in respect of the holiday.

“I felt it was the right thing to do,” Rapinoe said to ESPN. “I think it was the right time to do that. I’ve talked to people who are equally inspired and outraged, and I welcome both of those conversations and think that they are both incredibly important.”

Athletes have long before used the national platform to protest the countries national injustices but have not gained the national attention till now. The NFL finally has athletes expressing their opposition against the issues despite the risk of financial loss, team consequences, and negative reactions from fans.