SBD/September 8, 2017/NFL Season Preview

Chiefs' Peters Sits During National Anthem; Player Protests A Hot Topic As Season Opens

Peters raised his fist while the anthem was played prior to last year's season opener
Chiefs CB Marcus Peters "sat on a trainer’s table while the national anthem was played" before Thursday night's Chiefs-Patriots game, according to Pete Grathoff of the K.C. STAR. He shared on Twitter hours before the game a picture of the cleats he planned to wear. The bottom of the cleats said "Liberty" on one shoe and "Justice For All" on the other. Along with the photo, Peters tweeted: "Stand for what you stand in. If you see the potential for good, speak up. Don’t be Quiet." Grathoff notes Peters "raised his fist while the national anthem was played" prior to last year's season opener at Arrowhead Stadium, though that was the "only time all season that Peters did that" (K.C. STAR, 9/8). NBC said it would not shy away from showing any players demonstrating during the anthem, and the net in fact did show Peters sitting down. NBC's Al Michaels said after the anthem was over, “For the record, the only player we saw not standing was Marcus Peters” (“Chiefs-Patriots,” NBC, 9/7).

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
: ESPN.com's John Keim noted Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins "explained what he'll be doing this season to shed light on those issues" in a video posted earlier this week with former NFLer Anquan Boldin. Jenkins on Thursday said that he will be "raising a fist during the national anthem for racial equality 'and a much-needed reform to our criminal justice system.'" Jenkins: "It just focuses the dialogue in the right direction. Up until this point, starting last year, a lot of -- even the interviews that we do -- the questions are always about whether the protest is right or wrong or whether we are disrespecting people or it's about Colin Kaepernick." Jenkins also said that he wanted to "spin the conversation more about what they're fighting for rather than the method of gaining attention." Jenkins: "These are the issues that we are fighting for. We want to do it for equality, civil rights, changing and reforming our criminal justice system, but also giving solutions, too. We are not just standing on a soap box talking about how wrong the country is" (ESPN.com, 9/7). In Newark, Matt Lombardo notes Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie on Thursday acknowledged Jenkins and other players "elevating their actions beyond simply protesting" during the anthem. Lurie said, "Anybody who wants to do proactive things to try to reverse social injustice, I'm all in favor of. It has to be respectful. It certainly has to respect the military and the men and women who serve our country. ... I applaud anybody that can find respectful ways of trying to find their platform in some way. We all need to discuss social injustice" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/8).

NEED TO DO MORE: USA TODAY's Josh Peter noted former football player Clem Daniels said that current players protesting during the anthem "amounts to grandstanding because their efforts are not organized." Daniels, who participated in the '65 AFL All-Star Game boycott, said, "It’s just a lot of grandstanding at this particular point in time. If we don’t come together from a collective standpoint and deal with it, then there’s not a whole lot that’s going to happen. ... Three or four guys or even 10 guys in the National Football League is not going to make a difference. But if you do it from a collective standpoint, you can make a difference" (USA TODAY, 9/8). 
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