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    Posted on Sep 11, 2016

    More Athletes Protest During The National Anthem

    NFL players raised their fists or took a knee as the national anthem was played before football games around the country on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    by ,

    As "The Star Spangled Banner" played at football games around the country on 9/11, athletes joined in the protest started last month by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

    Chris Carlson / AP

    Marcus Peters, a cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs, held is right fist in the air during the national anthem before Sunday's football game against the San Diego Chargers.

    John Sleezer / AP

    Peters raised his fist as his teammates "decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity," according to a statement which was signed, "Representing All Kansas City Chiefs players."

    #Chiefs Marcus Peters and team during playing of National Anthem before game vs #Chargers

    "After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the National Anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity. It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone’s opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11. It’s our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed. Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community.

    –Representing All Kansas City Chiefs Players"

    Peters' fist was adorned with a black glove. He held it up as he stood before a massive American flag that covered the football field as the national anthem began to play.

    Charlie Riedel / AP

    The act was reminiscent of a protest by US track and field athletes Juan Carlos and Tommie Smith, who, with black gloves on, raised their fists in the air at a medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Their fists were raised during the entire national anthem in a political protest against "inequality in our country," Smith was quoted as saying years later.

    AP

    “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said last month during an interview on why he sat during the national anthem.

    “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    On Friday, Peters expressed his support of Kaepernick, saying he was "100 percent behind" his decision to sit during the national anthem.

    Orlin Wagner / AP

    The New England Patriots' Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett also stood for the anthem with their fists raised before their Sunday night game against the Arizona Cardinals.

    Devin McCourty & Martellus Bennett both with raised fists during national anthem. #Patriots

    Before Sunday's game between the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks, the Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills took a knee during the national anthem.

    Stephen Brashear / AP

    The team later released a statement, saying they recognized each individual's right to reflect during the national anthem.

    "We encourage all members of our organization to stand at attention during the national anthem out of respect and appreciation for the freedoms we are afforded as Americans," the team said. "We also recognize that it's an individual's right to reflect during the anthem in different ways. We respect these liberties and appreciate the sacrifices that everyone has made for our country, especially on this day of remembrance. We hope today's events will continue a respectful and thoughtful dialogue in our community unity, inclusiveness and togetherness."

    For weeks, Kaepernick's decision to sit or kneel during the anthem has ignited much debate and controversy. Some fans have burned his jersey while some military veterans have supported his symbolic protest.

    Orlando Jorge Ramirez / USA Today Sports

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump said, "maybe he should find a country that works better for him.”

    Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

    President Obama said that Kaepernick was "exercising his constitutional right to make a statement."

    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

    Kaepernick's actions have inspired others to protest in their own way. On Thursday, Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall took a knee during the national anthem.

    Joe Mahoney / AP

    Soccer star Megan Rapinoe also took a knee last week, telling American Soccer Now that “being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.”