Arizona football fans rendered their verdict on the NFL’s national anthem protests, as a chorus of boos descended upon members of the San Francisco 49ers as most of the team knelt during the national anthem before Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals.
All of the Arizona players stood for the anthem.
The San Francisco protest was the biggest to take place Sunday as about 30 San Francisco players knelt, with the rest standing behind them. All the player had their hands over their hearts.
General Manager John Lynch, a former player and team CEO Jed York joined the protest. The 49ers later issued a statement explaining the team’s conduct.
“For more than a year, members of our team have protested the oppression and social injustices still present in our society,” the statement read. “While some may have not taken a knee or raised a fist, we have all shared the desire to influence positive change. Today our team chose to publicly display our unity in a new way, and in turn, urge others to do the same.”
“As the majority of us have done throughout our careers, we use our platform as an NFL team, and our right to freedom of expression to speak up for those whose voices is not heard,” the statement added, according to ESPN.
Linebacker NaVarro Bowman made it clear that the team was defying President Donald Trump’s call for players to stand for the anthem, saying that the president has no business talking about pro football.
“And for a guy that’s never played this game or understand what goes into it, the brotherhood that we build with blood, sweat and tears, I just felt like he has no say, no type of control in this league because he doesn’t have any idea or any clue what we go through,” he said. “I felt like for him to say we better not be doing anything, this is our brotherhood, our league and we should do what we need to do no matter what we’re hearing on the outside.”
An unofficial count estimated that about 200 players knelt for the anthem last week, but only about 52 did so this week. Of those, 30 were members of the 49ers.
However, Sunday’s game also included many players raising a clenched fist during the anthem, including nine members of the Cleveland Browns.
Four members of the Houston Texans — Jurrell Casey, Wesley Woodyard, Brian Orakpo and DaQuan Jones — raised their fists. Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Robert Quinn did the same.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 1, 2017