KANSAS— Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans had a moment of silence before the NFL opener in the first game of the season at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10, as a tribute to the national Black Lives Matter movement. When NFL players crossed their arms and had a moment of silence in support of BLM, fans protested against it by booing.
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2020
During the moment of silence at NFL opener on September 10, the phrases come up with by players on both teams appeared on the scoreboard at Arrowhead Stadium:
We must end racism
We believe in justice for all
We must end police brutality
We choose unconditional love
We believe Black lives matter
It takes all of us
Houston defensive end was confused by the audience’s reaction. After Houston’s loss at 34-20, he commented; “The moment of unity I personally thought was good…I don’t fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved other than two teams coming together to show unity.”
Eric Bunch Kansas City Councilperson commented; “Some NFL fans booing the players for standing and locking arms in a moment of silent unity proves that for them ‘standing for the flag’ was always about perpetuating white supremacy.”
The protests over racism and police brutality has been especially widespread across the nation this year. Since George Floyd and Jacob Blake’s death, athletes tend to express their opinions on social issues more. According to the Washington Post‘s poll published on September 10, “56 percent of Americans say it is appropriate for athletes to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, while 42 percent say it is not appropriate.” Among football fans, 59 percent of them say “kneeling during the national anthem is an appropriate way to protest racial inequality and 64 percent saying athletes should express views on national issues in general.”
In June, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, commented that the league “were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier about the racism issue and police violence against black people.” As of 2019, 70% of NFL players were black, according to The Guardian.
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. He also said “I have great respect for men and women who fought for this country. I have family, I have friends who have gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people, and they fight for liberty and justice”.
Kaepernick was considered as anti-American, anti-military, anti-Caucasian and anti-police due to his acts during the anthem, and he was forced to leave the NFL.