UNITED STATES—Before the NFL’s September 10 opening day game between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, both teams were met with boos, as they linked arms during a moment of silence to recognize racial inequality.
With the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium only able to allow 16,000 fans to attend, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, they still made their presence felt in a venue that houses up to 80,000 people, voicing their displeasure of the decision made by both teams.
Kansas City Councilman Eric Brunch was unhappy with the response of fans from his city, stating as much via Twitter:
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.
— Eric Bunch (@EricWBunch) September 11, 2020
Ever since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was seen sitting down (and later kneeling) during multiple preseason games in the 2016 season, the focus on racism and police brutality has become more prominent in sports.
Several players in the league followed Kaepernick by also having made their opinions heard, whether through words or silent protest. Some of his teammates, like safety Eric Reid, even decided to kneel with the quarterback.
The act of players linking arms, individual players kneeling, holding fists up in the air, etc., has now become a yearly occurrence in football, much of it being done in support of what Kaepernick did.
Meanwhile, some players have come out against this form of protest, taking issue with not standing up for the National Anthem, claiming it shows disrespect towards the military.
The NFL has also come under scrutiny for refusing to address the concern players have, especially since two-thirds of the league is comprised of African American players, a ratio that is larger than any other professional sports league in the United States.