Three Miami Dolphins players protested during the playing of the national anthem Thursday night as their team kicked off the preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson took a knee while defensive end Robert Quinn raised a fist before Thursday’s game, sparking retaliation from President Donald Trump on Twitter.
In two tweets published Friday morning on the president’s Twitter account, Trump continued voicing his disapproval of the NFL players’ protests saying the Dolphins should have been “standing proudly” as the anthem played.
“Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define,” Trump said in part. “They make a fortune doing what they love. Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins also protested during the playing of the national anthem during his team’s preseason game Thursday by silently raising his fist.
Before Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jenkins tweeted a photo of himself with the caption, “Before we enjoy this game lets take some time to ponder that more than 60 percent of the prison population are people of color. The NFL is made up of 70 percent African Americans. What you witness on the field does not represent the reality of everyday America.”
Jenkins, who was part of the Super Bowl-winning Eagles team last season, has protested social injustice during the playing of the national anthem for two seasons along with Stills.
Trump has been critical of the NFL players’ protests of police brutality and social injustice since taking office in 2016. His criticism led way to NFL owners meeting in the spring in Atlanta that approved new rules regarding player behavior during the playing of the anthem.
The new conduct rules surrounding the pregame playing of the national anthem approved in May fines teams if players do not stand on the sideline or remain in the team locker room during the playing of the anthem.
Currently, the NFL is not enforcing the fines for teams whose players choose to protest during the anthem while the League is involved in ongoing conversations with the NFL Players Association about how to resolve the protests and what rules to implement.
The NFL released a statement Thursday night responding to the protests and announcing no Dolphins players would be punished for their protests.
“The NFL has engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans,” the statement said. “While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.
“Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL’s policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do can choose to remain in the locker room.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting in 2016 by silently taking a knee and speaking out against issues of social injustice in the United States. His protests and explanation following his protests inspired many other NFL players to follow suit over the past two seasons.
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