NFL players protest during anthem
The NFL Players Association has suspended its protest of the national anthem ahead of the opener of the preseason.
The players will instead wear white armbands during the game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
The union announced the decision after an all-day meeting on Friday.
“The players have decided to not participate in the national flag-raising ceremony for the national Anthem on Saturday, September 28th,” the union said in a statement.
“The players feel that this is a more appropriate time to show our support of our Flag and our National Anthem and will be attending this weekend’s NFL Preseason game in Indianapolis, Indiana.”
The decision came after an hourlong discussion, which included a closed-door session with owners and a vote of all players and the union’s leadership.
Players have said they would not kneel during the anthem if it is not in protest of police brutality against black people.
The decision comes as the NFL prepares to host the NFL Draft in New York next week.
It is also the first time since Donald Trump was elected president that the league has not participated in a national anthem protest.
Trump, who has been critical of the players, has said the protest was not appropriate for the game.
In a statement, NFL President Brian McCarthy said the union is “in no way condoning the protests that are taking place today.”
“We are proud to be part of this great game and are proud of our players for taking a stand in the face of hatred and bigotry,” McCarthy said.
We respect our players’ decision and will continue to do so.””
In no way do we condone the protests today.
We respect our players’ decision and will continue to do so.”
The NFLPA’s stance was in contrast to that of some players and players unions, who have been more vocal in their support of the anthem.
Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said in September that he would not participate, saying he believed it was disrespectful to the flag.
Former Chicago Bears quarterback Joe Montana, who was a member of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2017, said he would also not participate.
The NFL has not announced any new penalties for players who do not participate or kneel.