National Anthem Protests Against Racism Timeline

The nation’s most detailed and current timeline of significant events regarding the national anthem protests against racism

 *Complete lists of all reported national anthem protests against racism are at the “Protest Heroes” links on menu.

Timeline

2016
August 14 2016

Colin Kaepernick begins national anthem protest

Colin Kaepernick remains seated during the national anthem at the San Francisco 49ers’ preseason game against the Houston Texans.  This is not reported as Kaepernick did not suit up for the game. Twitter.com/MikeGarafolo, Heavy.com.

August 20 2016

Kaepernick’s protest continues

Kaepernick remains seated during the national anthem at the San Francisco 49ers’ preseason game against the Denver Broncos.  Again, this is not reported as Kaepernick did not suit up for the game. Twitter.com/MikeGarafolo, Heavy.com.

August 26 2016

Photo surfaces showing Kaepernick protest

Jennifer Lee Chan of Sports Blog Nation’s San Francisco 49ers site, Niners Nation, tweets out a photo which depicts Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem.  The photo itself was unrelated to Kaepernick’s protest. Twitter.com/jenniferleechan.

August 26 2016

Reporter notices that Kaepernick did not stand for the national anthem

Mike Garafolo informs fellow National Football League Network reporter, Steve Wyche, that Kaepernick did not stand for the national anthem at the San Francisco 49ers’ third preseason game against the Greenbay Packers. Richeisenshow.com.

August 26 2016

Kaepernick provides basis for anthem protest

Steve Wyche conducts the first interview of Kaepernick regarding the national anthem protests.  In this interview, Kaepernick reveals that the basis for his decision to remain seated during the national anthem is racism against Blacks and people of color in America. NFL.com.

August 26 2016

NFL’s San Francisco 49ers issue statement on anthem protest

The San Francisco 49ers issue a statement noting that while the national anthem is a special part of its pre-game ceremony, the organization recognizes the right of its players to decide whether or not they will participate in the celebration of the national anthem. Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.

August 27 2016

The National Football League issues statement on anthem protest

The NFL issues statement regarding its policy that players are encouraged, but not obligated, to stand for the national anthem. NFL.com, Profootballtalk.com

August 28 2016

Kaepernick gives lengthy interview on anthem protest

Kaepernick provides a lengthy locker room interview to the press expounding upon the bases for his national anthem protest, and answering reporters’ questions on a number of related protest topics.  Of note, Kaepernick states that there are several issues regarding racism upon which his protests are predicated.  One of these issues is police brutality. SFchronicle.comNFL.com.

August 28 2016

Professional athletes weigh in on anthem protests

Current and former athletes from across sports leagues begin commenting on the national anthem protests against racism.  A sample of early critical comments include those from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (ESPN.com), Minnesota Vikings guard Alex Boone (ESPN.com), and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer(mercurynews.com). A sample of early supportive comments include former National Basketball Association center Kareem Abdul Jabbar (washingtonpost.com), former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe (theroot.com), and Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin.(sacbee.com).

August 28 2016

Army veteran starts hashtag supporting Kaepernick

Marcus Newsome, a U.S. Army veteran, initiates the Twitter hashtag #Veteransforkaepernick to demonstrate veteran support for Kapernick’s national anthem protest against racism, and to counter the narrative that the protests are disrespectful to current and former members of the United States military. Huffingtonpost.com, BBC.com, Buzzfeed.com.

August 28 2016

Protests spur renewed analysis of the national anthem’s lyrics

Nationwide reporting begins regarding the Star Spangled Banner’s third stanza which contains lyrics that refer to the killing of slaves, and is widely considered racist. Theintercept.comTheundefeated, CNN.com

August 29 2016

Presidential candidate Donald Trump criticizes Kaepernick

Presidential candidate Donald Trump criticizes Kaepernick’s decision not stand for the national anthem, calling it “a terrible thing” and stating that Kaepernick should consider finding another country that works for him. SI.com.

August 31 2016

NFL executives denigrate Kaepernick

A report details interviews with seven NFL executives who made statements reflecting a hatred of Kaepernick, stating that Kaepernick is a traitor and the most despised player amongst NFL executives.  These executives further stated that they did not want him on their football teams, a sentiment they say is shared by 90-95% of front offices. Bleacherreport.com.

September 1 2016

Kaepernick changes protest method to kneeling

During a meeting also attended by former Special Forces Soldier and NFL long snapper Nate Boyer, Kaepernick’s San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid recommended that Kaepernick change his protest method to kneeling instead of remaining seated during the national anthem. ESPN.com.

September 1 2016

San Francisco 49er and Seattle Seahawk join protest

San Francisco 49er safety Eric Reid and Seattle Seahawk cornerback Jeremy Lane become the first NFL players* to join Kaepernick and the national anthem protests against racism. NFL.com.

 

September 2 2016

High school students from Colorado and Ohio join protest

Tarell Gissendanner, Jalil Grimes, Christian Wells, and other unnamed members of the Aurora Central High School football team (Aurora, Colorado), as well as Rodney Axson and two unnamed players of the Brunswick High School football team (Brunswick, Ohio), become the first the high school students* reported to participate in the recent national anthem protests against racism. Cleveland19.com, Denverpost.com.

September 2 2016

Santa Clara police union threaten 49ers games boycott

The Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association, the principal police organization which provides security officers on a volunteer basis for San Francisco 49ers football games, issues a letter stating that its members may cease working the games.  The association cited Kaepernick’s comments on police brutality and the San Francisco 49ers’ failure to discipline Kaepernick for said comments as catalysts for the association’s threatened boycott. NBCbayarea.com.

September 3 2016

Kaepernick’s jersey 49ers bestseller

Kaepernick’s jersey becomes the number one seller on the San Francisco 49ers website following his national anthem protest. Ninersnation.com.

September 3 2016

Santa Clara police chief asks union to reconsider boycott

Santa Clara Police Chief issues statement encouraging the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association members to reconsider its proposed security boycott of San Francisco 49ers games. Santaclaraca.gov.

September 4 2016

Professional soccer athlete joins protest

Megan Rapinoe, member of the Seattle Reign, National Women’s Soccer League, and the United States Women’s National Team, becomes the first professional soccer player* to participate in the national anthem protests against racism. CBSnews.com.

September 5 2016

President Obama provides supportive words on Kaepernick’s protest

President Barack Obama provides supportive words regarding Kaepernick’s right not to stand for the national anthem, noting that Kaepernick is part of a legacy of athletes who have exercised their constitutional right to make a statement. Profootballtalk.com.

September 7 2016

Kaepernick’s jersey becomes NFL bestseller

Kaepernick’s jersey becomes the number one seller in the NFL following his national anthem protest.  Kaepernick announces that he will donate the proceeds of his jersey sales “back into the communities.” Forbes.com, ESPN.com.

September 7 2016

College students join national anthem protests

Keyanna Morrow, Jade Berry, and Roytihala Brown, students and volleyball team members at West Virginia University’s Institute of Technology, become the first reported college students* to participate in the national anthem protests against racism. Wsaz.com. 

September 7 2016

Washinton Spirit Owner deliberately plays anthem early to preclude protest

Bill Lynch, owner of the Washington Spirit, National Women’s Soccer League, issues a letter stating that his team deliberately played the national anthem before the match between the Washington Spirit and the Seattle Reign to prevent Megan Rapinoe from engaging in a national anthem protest. Theundefeated.com.

September 11 2016

NFL’s Miami Dolphins issue statement on anthem protests

After Miami Dolphins players Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills, and Michael Thomas kneel during the national anthem earlier in the day, the Miami Dolphins issue a statement that while players are encouraged to stand for the national anthem, the organization respects the right of its players to reflect on the national anthem in the manner they see fit. Miamidolphins.com.

September 11 2016

Professional women’s basketball athlete joins protests

Kelsey Bone, member of the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Mercury, becomes the first professional basketball player* to participate in the national anthem protests against racism. Arizonadailyindependent.com.

September 12 2016

New Jersey diocese to suspend student protesters

Report that the Diocese of Camden, which controls several private Catholic high schools in south New Jersey, issued a letter dated September 2, 2016 which directs that failure by any sports team player or coach to “show respect during. . .the playing or singing of the National Anthem” will result in a two game suspension for the first offense, and dismissal from the team for subsequent offenses. Philly.com.

September 13 2016

U.S. congressman makes statement linking anthem protests to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Report that Congressman Steve King of Iowa’s Fourth District states during an interview that the activism reflected by Kaepernick’s national anthem protest “is sympathetic to ISIS.” NYDailynews.com.

September 14 2016

State senator joins protest

Missouri state senator Jamilah Nasheed becomes the first legislator to participate in the national anthem protests against racism, via inspiration, when she remained seated during the pledge of allegiance during a state senate session. Theroot.com.

September 14 2016

Reuters issues first poll on national anthem protests

Reuters conducts first poll on the national anthem protests against racism.  Key findings are that 61% of respondents do not agree with the national anthem protests against racism; 72% of respondents believe the national anthem protests against racism are unpatriotic; and 64% of respondents agree that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to engage in the national anthem protests against racism.  Regarding respondents who disagreed with the protests: 70% of white respondents disagreed with the protests, while only 40% of racial minority respondents did so. Reuters.com.

September 15 2016

United States Soccer issues anti-protest statement

United States Soccer issues an official statement discouraging national anthem protests, stating “we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.”  The statement is issued in response to Megan Rapinoe’s national anthem protests. ESPN.com.

September 16 2016

Broward County police association encourages boycott because of NFL players’ anthem protests

The Broward County Sherriff’s Office Deputies Association president, Jeff Bell, issues an organization letter requesting that its members cease all escort duties for Miami Dolphins players, staff, and family members, and that all law enforcement personnel at the Broward County Sherriff’s Office cease providing security at Miami Dolphins football games until the Miami Dolphins establish a Code of Conduct for players during the national anthem. The letter was issued in response to four Miami Dolphins’ national anthem protest on September 11, 2016. Miamiherald.typepad.com, USAtoday.com.

September 20 2016

University student expelled for anthem protest death threats

Belmont University reports that it has expelled one of its students, Justin Woodard, after he directed a death threat and racial epithets towards three Philadelphia Eagle football players who raised their fists during the national anthem.  Woodard is the first student expelled for threats against individuals participating in national anthem protests against racism. Fusion.net.

September 21 2016

Poll shows Kaepernick most disliked player

A poll of Americans finds that Kaepernick is the most disliked player in the NLF. Twitter.com/sportscenter.

September 22 2016

Time magazine announces Kaepernick cover

Time magazine announces that Colin Kaepernick will be featured on the cover of its October 3 issue.  This issue will feature several articles centered on the national anthem protests against racism. SBnation.com.

September 22 2016

University professor fired for Kaepernick death threat

Concordia University adjunct professor Susan Quade is fired after refusing to apologize for stating that she would kill Kaepernick for engaging in his national anthem protests. Insidehighered.com.

September 28 2016

Protests and NFL ratings decline narrative begins

Nationwide reporting begins asserting that the national anthem protests against racism have negatively affected NFL television ratings. Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com, Hotair.com.

September 29 2016

Professional swimmer joins protests

Anthony Ervin, member of the USA Swimming National Team, is shown in a photograph captured by sports journalist David Zirin with his fist raised during the national anthem.  Ervin becomes the first reported professional swimmer* to participate in the national anthem protests against racism. Twitter.com/EdgeofSports.

September 30 2016

Professional bull riders league members pledge not to protest

The Professional Bull Riders organization issues an official statement noting that all of its riders have pledged to stand during the national anthem. PBR.com.

October 7 2016

NC Governor criticizes student anthem protesters

North Carolina governor, Pat McCrory, calls the East Carolina University band members’ decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racism “extremely inappropriate.” Twitter.com/PatMcCroryNC.

October 10 2016

Supreme Court justice criticizes protests

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls the act of not standing during the national anthem “dumb and disrespectful” during an interview for Yahoo News. Yahoo.com.

October 10 2016

Anthem singer joins protests

Leah Tysse becomes the first national anthem singer to engage in a national anthem protest against racism while singing the national anthem.  She did so at a Sacramento Kings exhibition game. Sacramento.cbslocal.com.

October 11 2016

Richmond school board member recommends suspension for anthem protest

Frank Dolan, a member of the Richmond County School Board, recommends suspension from the team, squad, or band of any student athlete, cheerleader, or band member who does not stand for the national anthem. Chronicle.augusta.com.

October 12 2016

American Legion prohibits anthem protests for sports league

The American Legion Executive Committee issued a resolution requiring all of its program participants to “show proper respect to the Flag of the United States, at all times, including during the National Anthem.” Failure to do so results in removal from American Legion programs. The resolution was in direct response to “recent actions by professional athletes, and now that of several youth sports teams, who are kneeling during the national anthem out of protest.” Legion.org, (PDF of Resolution).

October 14 2016

Justice Ginsburg walks back anthem remarks

Justice Ginsburg releases statement saying that her earlier comments on not standing for the national anthem were “inappropriately dismissive and harsh,” and that she “should have declined to respond.” ESPN.com.

October 17 2016

Youth Football Team season cancelled due to anthem protests

Report that officials cancelled the season of the Beaumont Bulls, a Texas Youth Football team of 11 and 12 years olds, as a result of the players’ September 10 and 17, 2016 national anthem protests against “racism and injustice.” NYdailynews.com, Thelab.bleacherreport.com.

October 20 2016

NFL player allegedly released from team due to anthem protests

Following comments by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay which were critical of national anthem protests against racism, Terricka Cromartie, wife of Antonio Cromartie, contends that the Colts released her husband Antonio Cromartie because of his national anthem protests.  This is the first report of an NFL player being released as a direct result of a national anthem protest.  The Indianapolis Colts deny that the national anthem protests affected its October 4, 2016 decision to release Antonio Cromartie. ESPN.com.

October 21 2016

NBA commissioner discourages protests

Report that National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver says players standing for the national anthem is “the appropriate thing to do.”  ESPN.com.

October 26 2016

NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers pull singer due to planned protest

Shortly before the scheduled performance time, the Philadelphia 76ers informs contracted singer Sevyn Streeter that she will not be allowed to perform the national anthem because she was wearing a “We Matter” shirt.  The team issues a statement saying that its games are meant to “bring people together.” ESPN.com.

October 28 2016

Philadelphia 76ers issue apology

The Philadelphia 76ers issue an apology to Sevyn Streeter for not allowing her to sing the national anthem, and invited her back to do so on a night of her choosing. ESPN.com.

November 3 2016

Arkansas state government officials disparage college students’ anthem protest

Following the national anthem protest against racism on the same evening by Jordan Danberry, Tatiyana Smith, Kiara Williams, Jailyn Mason, Yasmeen Ratliff, and Briunna Freeman of the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team, several Arkansas state government officials, including Representative Laurie Rushing, Senator Jason Rapert, and Senator Jim Hendren, make disparaging remarks about the students and school officials.  For example, Senator Linda Collins-Smith tweeted “[d]isrespectful. Ungrateful. Where is the coach, where is crowd, donors and city? Enough! Speak up people. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.” Arktimes.com.

November 4 2016

Arkansas governor calls anthem protest disrespectful

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issues a statement which, while recognizing the students’ right to express their opinions, indicates that their national anthem protest was disrespectful. Arkansasonline.com.

November 7 2016

Arkansas legislator seeks delay of university budget over anthem protests

Alan Clark, an Arkansas state senator, announces that he has taken steps to facilitate a  hold on the University of Arkansas’s budget based upon the students’ November 3, 2016 national anthem protest.  Clark’s tweet stated “[h]old placed on UA’s budget and amendment being prepared to remove equal funding as women’s basketball budget. UA’s leadership out of touch.”  Nwahomepage.com. 

November 11 2016

Dylan Burton Becomes the First Student Suspended for Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem

Dylan Burton decided to remain seated during the national anthem at his Bishop Gorman high school’s Veteran’s Day ceremony.  Kaepernick’s protest was an inspiration to Burton.  In response, Bishop Gorman officials suspended Burton.  Additionally, Burton was informed that in order to remain at the school, he would have to: 1) remain on disciplinary contract for the remainder of the year; 2) be banned from the football team and television broadcasts; 3) attend 5 counseling sessions; 4) submit an essay on a topic to be determined by the administration; and 5) submit a letter of apology to the veterans in attendance at the assembly. Thedenverchannel.com.   

November 22 2016

High school student suspended for national anthem protest

A local Las Vegas news station reports that Dylan Bruton, a student and football player at Bishop Gorman High School, a private catholic high school, was suspended for remaining seated during the national anthem at a Veteran’s Day assembly.  Dylan Bruton is the first student suspended for participating in a national anthem protest against racism. KTNV.com.

December 1 2016

Chicagoans call for Kaepernick to stand during anthem

Report that Chicago residents, including military veterans and police officers, intend to organize a rally in an attempt to persuade Kaepernick to stand for the national anthem when the Chicago Bears host the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on December 4, 2016. NBCbayarea.com.

December 7 2016

Navy admiral disparages national anthem protests

Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander of the Department of Defense’s pacific region geographic combatant command, United States Pacific Command, disparages those engaged in national anthem protests when he states during an official ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that the men and women who died on that day “never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played.”  Theundefeated.com.

2017
March 2 2017

Kaepernick to end protest for 2017 NFL season

Report that Kaepernick will end his national anthem protest against racism during the 2017 NFL season because he does not want to detract from the progress made by his 2016 protest, and he believes that the nationwide spreading of the protests affirmed his underlying message. ESPN.com.

March 4 2017

U.S. Soccer issues rule prohibiting protests

In response to Megan Rapinoe’s 2016 national anthem protests against racism, U.S. Soccer unveiled its new policy adopted on February 9, 2017 which requires that “[a]ll persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.” Ftw.usatoday.com.

March 17 2017

Report surfaces of Kaepernick NFL protest blackball

Report that NFL executives intend to blackball Kaepernick due to his 2016 national anthem protests against racism. Bleacherreport.com  

May 18 2017

Kaepernick’s protest memorabilia to be placed in national museum

Report that Kaepernick memorabilia worn during protests, such as his jersey and shoes, will be displayed by the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in honor of his national anthem protests. USAtoday.com.

May 25 2017

NFL owner tacitly confirms Kaepernick blackball

New York Giants owner John Mara is the first NFL owner to essentially admit that the decision not to sign Kaepernick is related to Kaepernick’s national anthem protests. MMQB.SI.com

July 29 2017

Congressman Defends Kaepernick’s Protest, Calls Lack of Signing Unfair

Congressman Cedric Richmond, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, stated during a Thirty-Mile Zone (TMZ) interview that Kaepernick’s status as a free agent was unfair, noting that Kaepernick was far more talented than many current NFL backup quarterbacks. Richmond further stated that Kaepernick should not be punished for taking a principled stand and exercising his rights. TMZ.com.

July 30 2017

Second NFL Team Admits Non-Football Reasons Considered in Kaepernick Signing Decision

Reports from a July 30, 2017 Baltimore Ravens fan forum reveal that owner Steve Bisciotti is considering the reactions of fans and sponsors to the prospect of signing Kaepernick. The team has reached out to the Ravens’ fan base via its website to “scrimmage” the decision. NinerswireUSAtoday.com, Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.

August 12 2017

National Anthem Protests Resume in the 2017 Season Despite Kaepernick Absence

At a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders remained seated during the national anthem, signaling the first such instance of the 2017 season.  While it is not clear what Marshawn’s motive was for remaining seated, it is reasonable to assume an anti-racism basis given a previous pro-Black statement. SI.com, Twitter.com/Sportscenter.  Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks, who also remained seated on the following day, was unequivocal that his decision was motivated by injustice and inequality in America. NFL.com.

August 21 2017

Largest Professional Sports National Anthem Protest Held by Cleveland Browns

Eleven Cleveland Brown players knelt during the national anthem at their preseason game against the New York Giants. This demonstration is the country’s largest professional sports national anthem protest. CBSSports.com.

September 22 2017

POTUS Calls on NFL Owners to Fire Players Who Protest During the National Anthem

During a rally in Alabama, Donald Trump asserted that NFL owners should fire players who protest during the national anthem, stating “[w]ouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired! He’s fired.'” Several players were not pleased with the President’s comments, and hinted at the likelihood of even more protests. Huffingtonpost.com, SI.com.

September 23 2017

First Major League Baseball Player Takes a Knee

Bruce Maxwell, catcher for the Oakland Athletics, becomes the first MLB player to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. Maxwell noted that his decision to do so had “been coming for a long time.”SFGate.com

September 23 2017

POTUS Continues Disparaging NFL Players and Their Protests

Following the backlash of his comments on Friday, 22 September 2017, Donald Trump doubled down on his admonition of NFL players protesters, tweeting “[I]f a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues,” “he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” Yahoo.com.

September 23 2017

NFL Owners Respond to POTUS’s Comments

Several NFL team owners, including the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Greenbay Packers, and Atlanta Falcons, release statements in response to the comments by POTUS. SI.com

September 23 2017

NFL Players Association Issues a Response

The NFLPA issues a lengthy statement in response to POTUS’s comments. Both NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and President Eric Winston provide comments. Excerpts include Smith stating “[n]o man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights.  No worker nor any athlete, professional or not, should be forced to become less than human when it comes to protecting their basic health and safety;” and Winston stating “[d]ivisiveness breeds divisiveness, but NFL players have proven to unify people in our country’s toughest moments and we will continue to do so now.” NFLPA.com

September 23 2017

NFL Commissioner Issues Statement on POTUS’s Comments, and POTUS Responds

Roger Goodell issues a statement in which he called Donald Trump’s comments “divisive,” and that they showed a lack of respect for the league and its players. POTUS responded that Goodell was simply trying to justify disrespect of the United States. CBSnews.com 

September 23 2017

Tennessee State Legislators Sound Off About Protests

Tennessee state lawmakers made varying remarks over the next few days regarding the protests.  While some like Representative Raumesh Akbari encouraged kneeling during the anthem, Representatives Martin Daniel and Paul Bailey expressed disapproval, threatening to cease watching or attending games if Titan players protested. Tennessean.com.

September 24 2017

Historic Number of Anthem Protests Take Place Following POTUS’s Comments

Estimates are that more than 250 NFL players participated in a national anthem protest against racism. This is the largest number of athletes engaging in such a protest to date in United States history.  Players knelt or remained seated, while others stood with their fists raised during the national anthem. Three entire teams remained in the locker room during the anthem.  Reactions were varied, reflecting the divisions regarding this topic. NYTimes.com,  CBSSports.com, NYPost.com. 

September 24 2017

POTUS Makes Additional Remarks Regarding the Protests

As players throughout the nation engage in anthem protests against racism, POTUS continues his running commentary, including audience reactions and providing his thoughts on the inappropriateness of the protests. Tampabay.com

September 24 2017

National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Owners Mandate Standing for the National Anthem

NASCAR owners are unequivocal in their position that NASCAR employees must stand for the national anthem. Several owners note that failure to do so would result in termination. USAToday.com.

September 25 2017

After Historic Day of Protests, POTUS Responds

POTUS responds to accusations that his criticisms of players has nothing to do with race, but instead is based upon his belief that they are disrespecting the country and the American flag. POTUS went on to praise NASCAR and its supporters for standing during the national anthem; tweet a photo of Army Ranger and former NFL player Pat Tillman with hashtags encouraging standing for the anthem; and respond to reports that White House Chief of Staff General (Ret) John Kelly did not support his national anthem stance. USAToday.com, NYMag.com, NPR.org.

September 25 2017

Tennessee Congressional Member Files Anthem Resolution

U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) files a congressional resolution reminding Americans of the U.S. Flag Code, contained at 36 U.S.C. §301.  This statute provides guidance regarding conduct during the national anthem. The statute is not punitive and, as such, its provisions are simply recommendations. Failure to comply is not a civil or criminal offense. Knoxnews.com. 

September 25 2017

Congresswoman “Takes a Knee” In Support of NFL Protests

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) utilized a special congressional procedural to register her objections to POTUS’s anthem protest condemnations and to defend the First Amendment. Lee stated “I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor, I kneel in honor of the First Amendment, I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom, I kneel because I am going to stand against racism, I kneel because I will stand with those young men and I’ll stand with our soldiers and I’ll stand with America because I kneel.” YouTube.com, Huffingtonpost.com.

September 25 2017

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Issues Statement NFL Protest Controversy

Cedric Richmond, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, releases a statement on POTUS’s “petty” and “prejudiced” remarks.  Richmond emphasized that after having read the sundry statements by the NFL commissioner and team owners, none of them addressed the core issue of police brutality that is at the heart of the players’ protests.  Richmond also noted that Kaepernick continues to be unemployed, and that none of the statements provided a logical explanation for Kaepernick’s absence from an NFL roster. CBC.house.gov.  

September 26 2017

Lawmakers Suggest Eliminating NFL Tax Reprieves in Response to Protests

Republican lawmakers angered by NFL players’ protests during the national anthem suggest that tax incentives provided to NFL teams at the state and federal level should be eliminated; lawmakers assert that taxpayers should not subsidize teams and their stadiums if players are allowed to protest. Washingtonpost.com.

September 26 2017

Roger Goodell Calls Meeting to Discuss NFL Player Protests

Roger Goodell held a round table meeting attended by 25 owners, executives, and players to discuss the anthem protests.  One player, Jonathan Cassilas of the New York Giants, attended the meeting and stated that it was “clear to all sides that kneeling during the national anthem is not conveying the message the players’ [sic]want of the need for social change.” Sports.yahoo.com.

September 26 2017

Another Congressional Member Kneels in Support of NFL Players

Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) takes a knee on the House floor in solidarity with  NFL players’ protest against racial inequality and injustice.  Pocan went on to note that he found the act of taking a knee to be itself a sign of patriotism and respect for the country. Washingtonexaminer.com.

September 26 2017

POTUS Addresses NFL Protests During Foreign Visit Press Conference, Comments on Ratings and MNF

During a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, POTUS answered questions about the ongoing feud with the NFL. He repeated statements that protests during the anthem were disrespectful to servicemembers and the flag, and that he was ashamed they’d taken place.  POTUS also published tweets noting the NFL’s purported low ratings; applauding Dallas Cowboys’ decision to kneel before, and then stand during the anthem; showing a video of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt halting an interview to honor the anthem; and declaring that the NFL should establish a rule prohibiting kneeling during the anthem. USAToday.com, YouTube.com, UPI.com, Time.com.

September 27 2017

Louisiana Governor Says NFL Protests Are Not The “Right Thing to Do”

After several New Orleans Saints remained seated during the national anthem on Sunday September 24, 2017, Governor John Bel Edwards stated that though the players had a constitutional right to engage in the protests, they were not the “right thing to do.” He also stated that there were others ways for players to address their concerns forming the basis of their protest. His lieutenant governor, Billy Nungesser, decided to boycott the Saints; the state attorney general, Jeff Landry, and other legislators expressed outrage at the protests and recommended reviewing tax subsidies afforded the Saints. Theadvocate.com.

September 27 2017

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Pens Open Letter to POTUS

Representative Richmond follows up his September 25, 2017 statement with a letter to POTUS.  The letter expresses Richmond’s “utter disgust” with POTUS’s handling of race relations in general, and the NFL player protests in particular.  Richmond castigated POTUS for being divisive, asserting that POTUS lacks empathy for the history and policies that lead Colin Kaepernick to kneel in the first place.  In an interview, Richmond further stated “[t]ime will tell that kneeling NFL players are courageous patriots for this country.” CNN.com.

September 27 2017

POTUS Condemns NFL to “Hell” Absent An Anti-Protest Rule

While speaking to reporters at the White House, POTUS responds to questions regarding the NFL protests and states that the NFL’s business model will go to hell unless it enacts a rule prohibiting protests during the national anthem. Washingtontimes.com

September 27 2017

Senators Criticize National Anthem Protests

Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) criticizes the NFL player protests during the national anthem, calling them disrespectful and inappropriate. Toomey states that the protests fail to honor military veterans and that everyone should stand during its playing.  Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) echoed Toomey’s sentiments, contending that “[e]very man, woman, child in this country should stand for the national anthem. That should go without question.” CNBC.com.

September 28 2017

POTUS Contends That NFL Owners Fear Players

During an interview for morning show Fox & Friends, POTUS spoke about a number of issues, including the NFL protests.  POTUS reiterated his belief that the protests disrespect the flag, national anthem, and servicemembers; but he added his assessment that some NFL owners, to whom he said he’d spoken, are afraid of their players. POTUS stated that the owners needed to be tough, highlighting that the NFL has several rules to which mandatory standing for the national anthem should be added. USAToday.com.

September 29 2017

Florida Lawmakers Threatens to Punch NFL Protesters

Referencing the NFL players’ protests, state representative Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice)tweeted “It’s not about disrespecting you. I just wanted to raise awareness of what happens when I punch you in the face. .”  A twitter beef ensued with random Twitter users, which included further threats of violence. Gonzalez contended that his threats were satirical and not directed towards NFL players. Miamiherald.com.

September 29 2017

POTUS Praises Thursday Night Football Players Standing For the Anthem

After stopping to speak with reporters on White House grounds, POTUS states that he is happy players on the teams that had played in the previous night’s NFL game–the Greenbay Packers and the Chicago Bears–stood for the anthem. POTUS mentioned that he’d spoken with NFL owners, and noted that his objective of having players stand is “coming together.” MSN.com.

September 29 2017

New Jersey Governor Says Players Overreacted to POTUS Comments

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, stated that, while he generally supports protests, he believes doing so during the anthem is disrespectful. Christie also stated that the players overreacted to POTUS’s comments; and while their protests were lawful, people also had the right to respond to them. Newsmax.com.

September 29 2017

National Basketball Association Reminds Teams of Its Anthem Rule

As the start of the NBA season looms near, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum sent a memorandum to all NBA owners, presidents, and managers reminding teams of the NBA’s decades long rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem.  The memo encouraged discussions with players to hear their thoughts on the topic, and provided suggestions for ways for teams to foster unity by engaging with their fans and communities. The memo also indicated that the league office will decide how to handle an instance where a player, trainer, etc. does not stand for the anthem. Washingtonpost.com.

September 30 2017

POTUS Makes Pre-Sunday Push for Standing During the Anthem

POTUS sent out two tweets regarding the anthem protests: one stating that standing for games scheduled for Sunday is “[v]ery important;” and another which included a video from a November 9, 2016 National Hockey League game depicting attendees and players standing during the anthem, along with the text “19,000 RESPECTING our National Anthem! #StandForOurAnthem.” USAToday.com.

October 1 2017

NFL Players Protest During Anthem Despite POTUS’s Demands Otherwise

Several NFL players remain seated, kneel, or raise fists during the national anthem.  Additionally, while far fewer players engaged in protest as compared to the previous week, there were more protests today than there had been prior to POTUS’s September 22, 2017 controversial remarks. NYTimes.com.

October 1 2017

Detroit Lions Owner Offers Donations if Players Agree to Stand

Reports emerge that Martha Ford, owner of the Detroit Lions, informed players that if they agreed not to kneel during the national anthem, she would make donations to charitable causes of their choice. CBSSports.com.

October 7 2017

First Professional Hockey Players Joins Anthem Protests

J.T. Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning becomes the first professional hockey player to demonstrate during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality. J.T. raised his fist during before the Lightning’s game against the Florida Panthers. SI.com.

October 8 2017

Per POTUS Directive, Vice President Pence Leaves Game After Protests Ensue

Vice President Pence, former governor of Indiana, attended an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers had knelt during the national anthem the previous week, and did so again today.  Following the anthem, VP Pence left the game.  He posted a statement via Twitter which contended that he would “not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, or our National Anthem, or our Flag.” POTUS weighed in with a  tweet stating that he’d asked the VP to leave if players knelt during the anthem. CNN.com.

October 8 2017

Dallas Cowboy Owner Threatens to Bench Players Who Do Not Stand for Anthem

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, declares that he would bench players who do not stand for the national anthem.  Jones states that not standing for the flag angered many Cowboy fans, and was disrespectful to the flag and the anthem.  He was motivated to speak publicly about his stance because of the Vice President’s decision to leave a game, Jones noted that it was POTUS who directed him to the NFL Operations Manual that notes that players should stand for the anthem.  The manual does not make standing mandatory. CBSsports.com.

October 9 2017

POTUS Counters Reports that VP Pence’s Game Departure Was A Public Relations Stunt

In response to reports supporting the speculation that VP Pence’s early departure from the 49ers Colts game was a publicity stunt, POTUS responds that the trip to Indianapolis had been “long planned.”  Speculation arose because the traveling press pool was told to remain in the vehicle as VP Pence would be leaving the game shortly. USAToday.com.

October 9 2017

POTUS Applauds Dallas Cowboys Owner’s National Anthem Directive

POTUS congratulates Jerry Jones on his tough, and much criticized, national anthem protest declaration.  POTUS summarized the Cowboys owner’s stance as “[s]tand for the Anthem or sit for the game.” Sportingnews.com.

October 10 2017

NFL Commissioner Issues Statement Reflecting Shift in Anthem Approach

Roger Goodell, in an apparent shift from the NFL’s previous position which supported  players’ right to protest since this act is not precluded by NFL rules, sends a letter to team owners in which he states that he believes everyone should stand for the national anthem.  Goodell noted “[t]he controversy over the anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.” The reaction, including from players, was swift. Sportingnews.com, NYTimes.com.

October 10 2017

POTUS Challenges NFL’s Tax Incentives

POTUS queries why the NFL is receiving tax breaks while allowing activity that he considers disrespectful to the “[a]nthem, [f]lag, and [c]ountry.”  The NFL relinquished its tax exempt status, which only applied to NFL headquarters and not the 32 individual teams, in 2015.  CBSSports.com.

October 10 2017

NAACP Issues Statement Following Jerry Jones’s Anthem Ultimatum

The interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, issues a response critical of Jones’s ultimatum, calling the move insensitive and a violation of the players’ constitutional rights.  The NAACP’s Senior Director of Corporate Affairs, former NFL Player Tony Covington, also weighed in stating “Jerry Jones’ comments are more than tone-deaf, more than misinformed and misguided – they are a public commitment by an NFL owner to violate his players’ Constitutional right to free speech – one of the principles on which our nation was founded.”  Sportsday.dallasnews.com.

October 11 2017

NFL and NFLPA Issue Joint Statement Clarifying Anthem Policy

Following extensive backlash from Goodell’s letter proclaiming that players should stand for the anthem and fueling speculation that they would be forced to do so, the NFL and NFLPA issue a joint statement clarifying that there has been no change to the anthem policy. Twitter.com/NFLPA.

October 11 2017

NFL Provides Another Clarification on Anthem Standing Following POTUS Tweet

POTUS responded to Goodell’s letter tweeting that it was about time the NFL demand that players stand during the national anthem.  The NFL, via Goodell and a league spokesperson, disavowed any rule change requiring standing.  The spokesperson provided that “commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the Anthem is not accurate. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.” NFL.com, CBSSports.com.

October 11 2017

POTUS States the NFL Should Have Prohibited Kneeling Last Season

POTUS states during an interview that the NFL should have suspended Kaepernick last season when he first knelt during the national anthem; and that the penalties should gradually increased resulting in suspension for the entire season if Kaepernick’s kneeling persisted. YouTube.com.

October 13 2017

NFL Player Issues Call to Organize Following Goodell’s Letter to Owners Addressing the National Anthem

Russell Okung, an offensive lineman for the Los Angeles Chargers, writes a letter to all NFL players encouraging them to organize in an effort to counter owners’ actions regarding national anthem protests.  After noting his opposition last season to Kaepernick’s protest, Okung wrote that he has come to realize that it “was a courageous, prophetic, self-sacrificial act that has captivated a nation and inspired a powerful movement”.  He went on to state “[a]s Kap’s message has now been distorted, co-opted and used to further divide us along the very racial lines he was highlighting, we as players have a responsibility to come together and respond collectively.”  Theplayerstribune.com.

October 13 2017

POTUS Raises the Issue of NFL Protests in Weekly Presidential Address

POTUS includes his thoughts on the NFL protests in this week’s address.  After remarks on flag symbology and history, POTUS stated “[b]efore watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will.”  Whitehouse.gov.

October 14 2017

First International Sports Teams Supports the Anthem Protests Against Racism

German Soccer team Hertha Berlin becomes the first international sports organization to take a knee in support of the anthem protests against racism.  Players, including coaching staff and officials, knelt before a match in Berlin. The team tweeted “Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!” USAToday.com.

October 15 2017

Kaepernick Files Grievance Alleging Collusion by NFL Owners

Kaepernick files a grievance alleging that NFL owners colluded, in violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, to deny him employment on the basis of his peaceful protest against racism during the national anthem. SBNation.com.

October 16 2017

Wisconsin Governor Writes NLF and NFLPA About Protests

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, writes a letter to the NFL and NFLPA stating that players should stand for the anthem and change the focus of their protest. Walker noted “[i]t is time for players in the NFL to stop their protests during the anthem and move on from what has become a divisive political sideshow. . . . Instead, I encourage them to use their voices and influence to take a stand against domestic violence. from racism and police brutality to domestic violence.” Hostmadison.com.

October 16 2017

POTUS Comments on Hillary Clinton’s NFL Remarks

During a press conference in the Rose Garden, POTUS responds to a question about remarks made by his 2016 election opponent, Hillary Clinton, in which she expressed support for the NFL players’ protest.  POTUS repeated his previous remarks that those who knelt or remained seated during the anthem should be suspended, and that such acts are a sign of disrespect to the country.  POTUS also contended that the NFL’s lower ratings and attendance were a direct result of the NFL protests and fans’ anger related thereto. Finally POTUS asserted that Clinton’s judgment as reflected by her protest remarks is why she lost the election. SI.com.

October 17 2017

NFL Annual Meeting Includes Decision that Anthem Protests May Continue

NFL Commissioner confirms following the first day of the league’s annual meeting, in which anthem discussions were prominently featured, that no rule will be instituted mandating players stand for the national anthem.  CBSNews.com.

October 17 2017

State Lawmaker Pressures University to Remove Protesters from Field During Anthem

Report surfaces that Georgia State representative, Earl Ehrhart (R-23), exchanged text messages with the county sheriff, Neil Warren, wherein Ehrhart takes credit for a policy change which kept protesting Kennesaw State cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem.  This contradicted earlier reports by the university that the policy change had nothing to do with the September 30, 2017 game where five cheerleaders knelt during the national anthem. AJC.com.

October 17 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars Apologize for Protest During Anthem While in London

Reports surface about a letter written by the Jacksonville Jaguars in which Jaguars president, Mark Lamping, apologizes for the team’s September 24, 2017 protest during the national anthem in London, England.  The letter, dated October 6, 2017, sent to the City of Jacksonville Director of Military Affairs and Veterans Department, stated “[I]t bears repeating that we were remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration occurring on foreign soil has had on the men and women who have or continue to serve our country.” Actionnewsjax.com

October 18 2017

POTUS Responds to NFL Decision to Allow Protests

POTUS, not pleased with the NFL’s announcement following its annual meeting that the league will not require players to stand during the national anthem, sends two tweets in response.  The first stated that such a decision is a sign of “[t]otal disrespect for our great country!” The second stated that the NFL was engaged in “[t]oo much talk, not enough action” and included a directive to “[s]tand for the National Anthem.” Tennessean.com.

October 19 2017

POTUS’s Campaign Committee Launches Petition in Support of Standing for Anthem

The Trump Make America Great Again Committee, POTUS’s campaign committee, launches a petition encouraging signatures by those who stand for the national anthem.  The petition states “[t]he President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support.” It is not clear what POTUS intends to do with this list or how many signatures it contains. USAToday.com.

October 23 2017

POTUS Castigates NFL Following Continued Player Protests

Following reports that several NFL players continued to protest during the national anthem at Sunday’s games despite the encouragement by Goodell and the owners that they stand, POTUS responds by tweeting “[t]wo dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!” USAToday.com.

October 27 2017

Houston Texans Owner Compares Players Who Protest to Prison Inmates

Included in an ESPN The Magazine in-depth report on the October 18, 2017 NFL owners meeting is a comment by Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” McNair’s comment was in response to the issue of players engaging in national anthem protests against racism. ESPN.com.

October 27 2017

Texans Owner Apologizes for Inmates Remark Following Backlash

Amid extensive backlash following the publication of his “inmates” remark, Bob McNair issues an apology.  Several infuriated Texans players left the practice facility, with some not returning for practice.  A team meeting was held to attempt to address the controversial comment, and players has to be persuaded not to stage a complete walkout. Pundits, journalists, and players from both the NBA and NFL expressed outrage at the remark. Undefeated.com, Texanswire.usatoday.com.

October 27 2017

Texas Legislators, NAACP Respond to McNair’s Comment

The Houston NAACP and several Texas legislators, including congressional representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tx), hold a press conference reference McNair’s comments.  Lee noted “[w]e need to engage in real hard discussions to rise above the perceptions that we have of each other. We need to end racial conflict.”  On McNair’s apology, James Douglas, Houston NAACP president stated “[h]is apology is not accepted. Saying, ‘I didn’t know anyone would be upset by what I said,’ is even worse because it shouldn’t matter whether anyone had be upset. What he said was improper.” Click2Houston.com.

October 28 2017

McNair Issues Second Apology, Meets With Players

Texans owner issues a second apology, both in writing and verbally at a meeting with players prior to their departure for their game against the Seattle Seahawks. In this written apology, McNair contended that his comment was not in reference to players, but the relationship between the NFL league office and team owners. During the meeting with players, McNair extended his apology to players who were offended by his comment. Bleacherreport.com.

October 29 2017

Texans Kneel During Anthem in Response to Owner’s Comment

Following McNair’s comment that many deemed racist, all but 11 Texans players kneel during the national anthem, making this one of the largest anthem protests against racism by professional athletes.  USAToday.com.

November 1 2017

Major NFL Sponsor Papa John’s Pizza Complains About Protests

For the first time since the protests began in 2016, a major NFL sponsor publicly states that the anthem protests against racism are adversely affecting business. John Schattner, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Papa Johns pizza, stated “[t]he NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.” The company has responded by removing the NFL shield or “official sponsor” of the NFL language from commercials.  ESPN.com.

November 7 2017

California NAACP Launches Initiative to Remove Star Spangled Banner as National Anthem

Report published stating that the California chapter of the NAACP will enlist the assistance of its state legislators to rescind the Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem.  Alice Huffman, the chapter’s president, called the song “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon.” Sacbee.com.

November 13 2017

Colin Kaepernick Named GQ’s Citizen of the Year

Kaepernick is named GQ’s Citizen of the Year.  Per the editors, Kaepernick earned the honor by serving as the catalyst for a national movement of protest against racism and police brutality when he decided to kneel during the national anthem. GQ.com.

November 20 2017

POTUS Criticizes NFL Player for Protest at Game in Mexico

POTUS tweets that Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders, who remained seated for the United States’ national anthem, and stood for the Mexican national anthem, should be  suspended for the remainder of the season. Lynch has remained seated during the national anthem for every game n 2017, including during the pre-season. ESPN.com.

November 22 2017

POTUS Criticizes Possible Change in NFL Anthem Policy

POTUS responds to reports that the NFL is considering returning to its policy prior to 2009 wherein teams did not emerge from the lockerroom until after the national anthem. POTUS tweeted “[t]he NFL is now thinking about a new idea – keeping teams in the Locker Room during the National Anthem next season. That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!” USAtoday.com.

November 24 2017

POTUS Comments on Tweet Highlighting Kneeling Player on Thanksgiving

POTUS comments on a tweet calling New York Giants player, Olivier Vernon, ungrateful for kneeling on Thanksgiving during the national anthem, which was sung by a United States Army Soldier. POTUS tweets that players continue to kneel without penalty; that Roger Goodell has lost control of the league; and that the players are “the boss.” NYDailynews.com.

November 28 2017

POTUS Calls NFL Weak and Out of Control as Protests Continue

POTUS continues expressing his discontent with protests during the national anthem in which a reported 24 players participated during Week 12.  POTUS tweeted that NFL attendance is suffering as a result and 4 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!” USAToday.com.

November 29 2017

NFL and Players’ Coalition Reach Controversial Deal Related to Protests

Reports emerge that the NFL and the Players’ Coalition reach a deal wherein $90 million dollars will be given to social justice causes, with the implicit understanding that protests during the anthem would end.  Eric Reid, Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, and Russell Okung split from the Players’ Coalition, citing lack of communication regarding dealings with the NFL. ESPN.com.

November 30 2017

Kaepernick Wins Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Sports Illustrated announces that it has named Kaepernick as the recipient of the 2017 Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. “Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world.” Citing Kaepernick’s anthem protest against racism which resulted in the loss of his career, as well as his perseverance, impact, and philanthropy, SI chose Kaepernick for this award. t.Kaepernick was chosen For all those reasons—for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost—Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. SI.com.

December 3 2017

Kaepernick Earns Advocate Award from the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union

In describing the decision to name Kaepernick as winner of the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, the Southern California ACLU noted that he’d “[become] an international figure in the fight against racial injustice by kneeling in protest during the national anthem” though doing so cost him employment as an NFL player. The SoCal ACLU also praised his perseverance in the face of extensive criticism for his principled stance. ACLUSocal.org.

December 5 2017

Kaepernick Receives the 2017 Puffin/Nation Award

Kaepernick receives the 2017 Puffin/Nation Award for Creative Citizenship.  This award “honors individuals that challenge the status quo through distinctive, courageous, imaginative, and socially responsible work of significance.” Perry Rosenstein, President of the Puffin Foundation, stated “Colin Kaepernick . . . courageously risked his position to focus attention on abuses by law enforcement against people of color and on the plague of racism in the United States . But he has also excelled as a committed activist and community organizer who has involved himself in myriad social issues.” Nationinstitute.org.

December 23 2017

Baltimore Ravens President States Anthem Protest Affected Ticket Sales

Dick Cass, president of the Baltimore Ravens, told season ticket holders in a letter that the protest in London adversely affected attendance at this season’s games.  Cass stated, “[w]e had the poor showing in London, complicated by the kneeling of a dozen players during the national anthem.  That became an emotional and divisive issue. . . .We had a significant number of no-shows in the past. . . but this year has been different.  There are a number of reasons for the no-shows, but surely the onetime protest in London has been a factor.” Baltimoresun.com

2018
February 2 2018

Congresswoman Takes Out Pro-Anthem Superbowl Ad

Report that Congresswoman Diane Black will take out a pre-game Superbowl ad asking attendees to stand for the anthem.  The ad states “it’s too bad that the league doesn’t respect the patriotism of our national anthem.” The move appears to be in response to the rejection by the NFL of a proposed ad by a veteran’s group with the message “please stand.” tennessean.com

February 4 2018

POTUS Mentions National Anthem Controversy in Super Bowl LII Message

POTUS issues a Super Bowl LII message that focuses primarily on thanking the members of the Armed Forces; however, the message also mentioned the national anthem in a subtle dig at players who’d refused to stand for the anthem during the season.  The relevant passage noted: “We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner. We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.” USAToday.com.

March 6 2018

NFL Owner Walks Back Comments on Forcing Players to Stand For the Anthem

Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, was reported to have stated that all of his players would have to stand during the national anthem this upcoming football season; however, Ross provided a clarification the following day. Ross stated “I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem, and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued,” Ross told the newspaper. “I’m passionate about the cause of social justice and I feel that kneeling is an ineffective tactic that alienates more people than it enlists.” The Miami Dolphins Players, Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, and Julius Thomas knelt or remained in the tunnel during the national anthem last season.  USAToday.com.

April 5 2018

Texans Owner Regrets Apologizing for Inmates Remark

Bob McNair states in an interview that he did not regret his comment regarding the players protests that the “inmates” were running the prison; but he did regret apologizing for it.  McNair apologized multiple times last year, which did not abate the decision by nearly the entire team to kneel during the national anthem the ensuing Sunday, October 29, 2017. wsj.com

April 21 2018

Kaepernick Wins Another Award In Recognition of Protests Against Racism

Colin Kaepernick was honored as the 2018 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience.  According to the organization “[t]he Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognised for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.” Amnesty.org

May 2 2018

Eric Reid Files a Collusion Grievance Against the NFL

Eric Reid files a collusion grievance against the NFL, joining Kaepernick, as he remains an unsigned free agent despite a solid year and being a Pro Bowler.  Reid will be represented by Marg Geragos, the same attorney representing Kaepernick in his own collusion case. Businessinsider.com.

May 7 2018

NFLPA Files Two Grievances on Behalf of Eric Reid

The NFLPA files two grievances on behalf of Eric Reid surrounding focus on his protest during the anthem and the failure of the Cincinnati Bengals to pursue a contract with him based upon his intent to protest in the future.  The NFLPA had informed players who protested to alert the union to suspected violations of the collective bargaining agreement. The NFLPA did not file a grievance on behalf of Kaepernick. Yahoo.com

May 23 2018

Jacksonville Jaguars Issue Statement on National Anthem Policy

Jaguars owner Shad Khan issues statement on the NFL’s new anthem policy.  The statement focused on a mutual desire for respect for the flag and the advancement of social justice causes. news4jax.com

May 23 2018

Philadelphia Eagles Owner Releases Statement on National Anthem Policy

Jeff Lurie issues a statement in which he focused on the actions of players in the community and their dedicaiton to social justice, which he noted demonstrated respect for the country. nbcsports.com

May 23 2018

NFL Issue Rule Mandating Players Stand For Anthem if On Sidelines

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the new national anthem policy which requires players to stand if they are on the sidelines.  Players are allowed to remain in the locker room or otherwise off the football field during the anthem. Teams will be fined if players fail to “stand and show respect” for the national anthem.  Teams and Goodell may also discipline players who do not “stand and show respect.” What constitutes showing respect for the national anthem was not defined. usatoday.com.   

May 23 2018

NFLPA Issues Statement on NFL National Anthem Policy

The NFLPA issues a statement noting that it had not been consulted on the NFL’s anthem decision, and that it intends to challenge any aspect of the national anthem policy which violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Further, NFLPA, executive director of the NFLPA, issued a series of tweets criticizing the policy. twitter/NFLPA, twitter/desmithnflpa.

May 24 2018

POTUS Suggests Those Discinclined to Stand for Anthem Should Not be in the NFL or America

Donald Trump, during an interview, noted that he does not think NFL players should be allowed to remain in the locker room in protest of the national anthem, but that the new anthem policy was good.  He also suggested that those who chose to remain in the locker room should not be playing in the NFL or be in America if they did want to stand proudly for the national anthem. usatoday.com.

May 24 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers Issue Statement Regarding National Anthem Policy

Art Rooney II, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, issues statement asserting that the policy strikes a balance between not forcing players to stand for the anthem, and not forcing fans, particularly veterans, to view a political protest.  The statement praised the manner in which the Steelers handled the protest issue last year, and highlighted the social justice agreement between the NFL and the Players Coalition. behindthesteelcurtain.com

May 26 2018

Congressman Compares Player Protests to Nazi Salutes

Representative Peter King from  New York issues a tweet expressing anger at the decision of New York Jets’ Chairman Chris Johnson to pay any fines should his players decide to protest during the national anthem. King asked whether Johnson would “support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew [sic] racism?” bleacherreport.com

June 4 2018

POTUS Rescinds Invitation of Super Bowl Champions to White House

Donald Trump disinvites the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House, which included the Press Secretary issuing a statement asserting that players did not want to attend because of POTUS’ national anthem stance.  POTUS noted that since only a small delegation of players were going to attend, he was canceling the event.  POTUS also stated that staying in the locker room is as disrespectful as kneeling. cnn.com

June 7 2018

Chicago Bears Address NFL National Anthem Policy

Bears Chairman George McCaskey discusses the NFL’s new national anthem policy stating that while not perfect, it will return to anthem to being a “unifying force.” McCaskey notes both that the protests brought important issues to the nation’s attention, and the Bears’ position is that players should stand for the national anthem. chicagotribune.com

June 8 2018

POTUS Asks NFL Players to Make Pardon Recommendations

During an impromptu discussion with reporters, POTUS states that players should not remain in the locker room during the national anthem; and since they are protesting criminal injustice, he is going to ask them for names of those whom they believe have been unfairly imprisoned so that he could either pardon the individuals or commute their sentences. yahoo.com

June 15 2018

POTUS Makes Additional Statements on NFL PLayers’ Protests

During an impromptu press conference, POTUS revisited the anthem policy and noted that players have yet to provide him with any pardon recommendations.  POTUS also noted that players should refrain from getting political, and implied that players do not have a legitimate basis to protest since they are making $15 million dollars per year. outsidethebeltway.com.

June 15 2018

Vikings Co-Owner Invokes Status as Immigrant in Supporting NFL Anthem Policy

Marl Wilf makes a statement on behalf of the Minnesota Vikings supporting the NFL’s anthem policy.  In response to a query regarding the Vikings’ stance if a player decides to remain in the locker room, Wilf noted that as an immigrant he understood the meaning and respect for the flag and the military, as did his players. startribune.com.

July 20 2018

POTUS Again Calls For Player Suspension and Firing in Light of Anthem Pause

President Trump commented on the recent news that the NFL and the NFLPA had decided to pause implementation of the new national anthem policy.  POTUS asked whether contracts contained a mandatory standing provision, and noted that the NFL commissioner should suspend players one game for a first offense of not standing, and then the remainder of the season for a second offense. usatoday.com.

August 10 2018

POTUS Criticizes Resumption of Protests During Anthem

Following the first pre-season game where a number of NFL players demonstrated during the national anthem, POTUS criticized the protests.  He stated, among other things, that players cannot articulate why they are protesting, and that they had chosen the inappropriate place to protest. vox.com.

August 21 2018

POTUS Chides ESPN For Not Airing the National Anthem

POTUS criticized ESPN for its decision not to broadcast the national anthem during a rally in West Virginia, calling the move a terrible one. bleacherreport.com

September 3 2018

Nike Chooses Kaepernick as the Face of Its 30 Year Anniversary Campaign

Nike reveals that Colin Kaepernick will be the face of the campaign to mark its 30 year anniversary with an ad containing the phrase “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.”  The deal will include Kaepernick’s own branded clothing and apparel. cbssports.com.

September 6 2018

Wisconsin Governor Criticizes Protests During the Anthem

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker criticized those who do not stand for the anthem, stating that not doing so showed disrespect to veterans.  Walker also criticized NFL players, contending that remaining in the locker room during the ritual was unacceptable.  WTMJ.com.

September 20 2018

Kaepernick To Receive Prestigious Award For Activism

Harvard University announces that it will honor Colin Kaepernick with its W.E.B. DuBois award, the university’s highest honor in the field of African and African-American studies. The award “honors those who have made significant contributions to African and African American history and culture, and more broadly, individuals who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights in an increasingly global and interconnected world.” boston.cbs.local.com.

September 26 2018

Eric Reid Signed by the Carolina Panthers

Eric Reid, believed to also be subject to an NFL blackball and for which he filed a collusion lawsuit, is signed by the Carolina Panthers. usatoday.com.

September 27 2018

Eric Reid Signed by the Carolina Panthers

Eric Reid is signed by the Carolina Panthers.  Reid noted that his collusion case would continue. ESPN.com

October 7 2018

POTUS’s Campaign Store Sells Counter Protest Shirts, “StandUp For America”

President Trump’s campaign store includes in its inventory a football jersey with the words “Standup For America” on the front and the president’s surname on the back. The President has been a vocal critic of the protests during the anthem. nypost.com.

October 11 2018

Kaepernick Receives W.E.B. DuBois Award, Reveals Defining Moments of Protest

Colin Kaepernick receives prestigious award from Harvard University for activism and significant contributions to African and African American culture. In his speech, Kaepernick declares that love underlay his decision to protest during the national anthem.  Kaepernick also relayed that defining moment for him occurred shortly after he began protesting and was joined by students at Castlemont High School he heard a football team member declare “[W]e don’t get to eat at home, so we’re going to eat on this field.” yahoo.com.

November 1 2018

Kayla Morris Becomes First Cheerleader to Kneel During Anthem

Before a game against the Oakland Raiders, Kayla Morris, a member of the San Francisco 49ers cheerleading squad “Gold Rush,” knelt during the national anthem. newsweek.com

2019
February 15 2019

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid Settle Collusion Case With the NFL

While the details are unknown due to a confidentiality agreement, reports emerged that Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid both settled their cases against the NFL. Hearings were to take place later this month. sports.yahoo.com.