The National Football League is bracing for possible widespread player demonstrations during the national anthem at Sunday’s opening games, in what would mark a high-profile escalation of a protest movement over concerns of racial injustice in America.
The games fall on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, which the NFL plans to commemorate with appearances by military personnel, first responders and two U.S. presidents. That backdrop could further animate a fierce national debate set off last month by quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem.
A possible protest by the Dolphins and Seahawks during the national anthem at Sunday’s season opener has angered some fans, who lashed out in comments posted on The Post’s initial news report on Friday’s team meeting.
“My family and friends won’t be going to games this year, and some won’t buy products advertised during games,” one commenter posted. Another threatened a similar boycott: “I’m protesting the disrespect for our country and boycotting the NFL until they make everyone stand. I’ll watch college football and baseball and hockey, period.”
Others took offense to the potential protest occurring on 9/11. “Protest the anthem especially on 9/11 and the Dolphins are dead to me,” one reader wrote. Another posted: “Truly disgusting what they are doing. … I’m sure our soldiers abroad will be horrified and disgusted at their unpatriotic behavior.”
Even longtime fans were offended: “If the Dolphins decide not to stand for the national anthem on 9/11 I will never attend another game in my life. And I’ve run bus trips for for 29 years.”
Protests began when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat on the bench during the anthem before a preseason game in a protest against oppression of black people and controversial handling of police violence. It became a mini movement when Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid knelt for the anthem last week, then Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall did the same in the league’s kickoff Thursday.
There were a few comments posted on the story in rebuttal. One states: “How many fans are talking, drinking beer with their hats on during the national anthem? Do the beer vendors shut down for the guy who is trying to get to his seat? Ask your kids how many students actually pledge allegiance to the flag.”
To express a desire to bring people together, our team will honor the country and flag in a pregame demonstration of unity.
— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) September 8, 2016
The Dolphins and the NFL did not immediately return a message seeking comment.