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NFL protests 2017: What happened in Week 5?

Here’s the latest on protests and demonstrations around the NFL.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

We’re in Week 5 of the 2017 season, and two things haven’t changed. NFL players continue to protest during the national anthem, and they’re still being met with opposition from some fans.

Players kneeling or sitting during the anthem to protest racial inequality isn’t the only storyline. Teams have continued to respond to comments made by President Donald Trump calling any player who demonstrates during the anthem a “son of a bitch” and insisting owners should fire them on the spot. It’s valid to explore whether these “displays of unity” detract from the original meaning behind the protest.

When Colin Kaepernick first was seen sitting during the national anthem in the 2016 preseason, he made it clear that he was protesting oppression of black people and police brutality. Once Trump got involved and spurred so many players and owners to action, “unity” became more of the focal point.

And although the focus has shifted, and many of the demonstrations aren’t happening during the actual national anthem, that hasn’t stopped fans from being furious about it.

In Week 4, the Ravens kneeled before the anthem to pray together as a team. Their intent was announced in the stadium, but fans still booed — making it clear their backlash wasn’t really about patriotism.

These displays of unity have ranged from locking arms during the anthem to kneeling as a team before the song begins. On Thursday before the Patriots played the Buccaneers, there was a different kind of demonstration: a moment of silence for all of those impacted by the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas last Sunday.

It’s likely that protests and shows of unity will continue in Week 5. Here’s what we know so far, and we’ll update with details of any demonstrations as they take place.

Colts players establish a Fund for Equality

On Friday, the Colts announced that players would establish a fund for equality. Owner Jim Irsay will kick in $100,000 to get the fund started.

“The fund will support charities that are working to promote equality, improve relationships between law enforcement and the community, and provide opportunities for minorities,” the statement read.

All Lions players stand and link arms

For the first time, all members of the Lions stood and linked arms during the national anthem:

Giants’ Olivier Vernon continues to kneel

Dolphins’ Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas, Mike Thomas stay in the locker room during the anthem

The Dolphins all stood for the anthem, except three players — all of whom have been kneeling during the anthem —- who were not on the field:

"I think it's incumbent upon players today if that's how the public is looking at it, is to stand and salute the flag,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said earlier Sunday, according to Salguero.

Vice President Mike Pence leaves the 49ers-Colts game

Pence issued a statement soon after he decided to leave the Colts’ home game against the 49ers:

President Trump tweeted that he asked Pence to leave:

The Colts linked arms, while some players for the 49ers knelt during the anthem:

After the game, 49ers safety Eric Reid said what Pence did was a “PR stunt.”

No Seahawks players sit this week

Last week, the Seahawks’ defensive line sat during the national anthem. This week, they opted not to:

After the game, Frank Clark explained why:

Jerry Jones says players who “disrespect the flag” won’t play

Jones said after the game that players who disrespect the flag won’t be playing.

The NFLPA stands behind players’ right to protest

The NFLPA’s statement, meant to respond to Pence, also ended up being a response to Jones too:


NFL's message of 'unity' has diluted Colin Kaepernick's reasons for protest