Skip to main content

Every NFL Player Who Has Protested During the National Anthem This Season

Momentum only seems to be growing for the national anthem protest that Colin Kaepernick started. 

Debate over the place of player protests during the national anthem grew over the weekend after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players choosing to protest. Trump said owners should "fire" NFL players who protest the anthem and referred to them as "son[s] of  b------", and players responded by protesting en masse.

Last year, Colin Kaepernick sat (and later kneeled) during the anthem to protest police brutality, racism and social inequalities in America. Several other players joined him throughout the season. Despite the blowbackKaepernick received in some quarters and the fact he is not on an NFL roster, many NFL players have continued to protest, even before Trump’s comments. The political discussion has become the biggest story of the 2017 season.

The NFL and other athletes responded to Trump's comments in force, igniting a firestorm and putting politics front and center over the weekend. Trump did not quell the fury, rather adding to it with tweets and comments. Although owners had by and large failed to speak up on behalf of protesters, many defended their players’ rights to free speech and peaceful protest.

Here's a look at the teams and players who have knelt, sat or demonstrated in some way during the national anthem this season.

Week 3

Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals: In the Monday Night Football matchup, the Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones, took a knee before the national anthem, then stood while the song played. Following a weekend of intense debate, the team choose to do this as a show of “unity.” 

The Cardinals interlocked arms with members of the military as they stood during the national anthem.

Oakland Raiders vs. Washington Redskins: The majority of the Raiders sat or took a knee during the national anthem. The team originally planned to stay in the locker room, but changed plans once they realized they might miss the coin toss and receive a penalty. Coach Jack Del Rio and Derek Carr stood with interlocked arms.

Many Redskins locked arms with owner Dan Synder while some, — Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Brian Quick, Niles Paul, Jordan Reed, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter — chose to kneel. 

Seattle Seahawks/Tennessee TitansThe entire Seahawks squad did not participate in the national anthem, releasing this statement before the game.

"As a team, we have decided we will participate in the national anthem," the Seahawks said. "We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work toward equality and justice for all."

The Titans also remained in the locker room during the national anthem, releasing this statement:

“As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic."

National anthem singer Meghan Linsey and her guitarist took a knee at the end of the anthem.

Houston Texans vs. New England PatriotsThe Texans locked arms, standing side-by-side during the national anthem. The team's chief operating officer, Cal McNair, joined the players on the sidelines.

More than a dozen Patriots, including Stephen Gilmore and Malcolm Butler kneeled and locked arms. Quarterback Tom Brady locked arms with Phillip Dorsett.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers: Several Chiefs players kneeled or took a seat on the bench during the national anthem. Justin Houston noticeably kneeled on two knees with his head almost on the bench as if he were praying. Travis Kelce also took a knee.

Similarly, several Chargers players knelt or sat while most others locked arms. Owner Dean Spanos and general manager Tom Telesco stood with players interlocking arms.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay PackersAll of the Bengals players and coaches stood with arms linked during the national anthem.

The Packers linked arms during the national anthem and plan on doing so again Thursday night against the Bears. Three players — Martellus Bennett, Kevin King and Lance Kendricks — choose to sit. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota VikingsOnly two Buccaneers — Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, kneeled​ during the national anthem. Most of the rest of the team locked arms.

The Vikings stood and locked arms during the national anthem.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit LionsFor the Falcons, only Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe kneeled​ during the national anthem. The others stood arm-in-arm.

The Lions owner Martha Ford, her daughters and coach Jim Caldwell locked arms with standing players during the national anthem. Eight players including Ameer Abdullah and Tahir Whitehead kneeled​. Singer Rico Lavelle also took a knee and rose his fist after finishing the anthem.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago BearsThe entire Steelers team, minus Alejandro Villanueva, stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. Head coach Mike Tomlin along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley, offensive line coach Mike Munchak and running backs coach James Saxon were seen on the sidelines during the anthem.

The Bears stood arm-in-arm during the national anthem.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina PanthersTen of the Saints sat on the bench during the anthem while the rest of the team stood. The 10 who sat were safety Rafael Bush, safety Kenny Vaccaro, safety Chris Banjo, defensive end Alex Okafor, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, defensive end Cameron Jordan, running back Adrian Peterson, running back Alvin Kamara, running back Mark Ingram and receiver Brandon Coleman.

All of the Carolina Panthers appeared and stood for the anthem, except Julius Peppers who stayed in the locker room.

Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo BillsThirty-two Broncos, including Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas  and Brandon Marshall took a knee. Other players standing put a hand on kneeling players’ shoulders. The Broncos released a statement Thursday saying they will be standing together for this week’s game.

A number of the Bills took a knee, while star LeSean McCoy stretched during the anthem.

Miami Dolphins vs. New York JetsSome Dolphins wore black shirts that read #IMWITHKAP on them as a sign of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. The Dolphins linked arms during the anthem, with owner Stephen Ross joining the group. A number of Dolphins players did kneel, including LaremyTunsil, Maurice Smith, Julius Thomas and Kenny Stills.

The Jets linked arms during the anthem. The Jets acting owner, Christopher Johnson, linked arms with players. Johnson is the brother of Woody Johnson, the owner of the Jets who was appointed by President Trump to serve as the ambassador to the United Kingdom. 

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia EaglesThree members of the Giants took a knee during the national anthem. All-Pros Landon Collins and Damon Harrison and linebacker Olivier Vernon each chose not to stand for the anthem. The rest of the team and coaches locked arms during the anthem.

The Eagles locked arms before the game, with chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie joining the players. Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist during the anthem, along with wide receivers Torrey Smith and Marcus Johnson.

Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts

At least 20 players for the Browns kneeled​ during the national anthem, including Myles Garrett, Christian Kirksey, Isaiah Crowell and wide receiver Kenny Britt. Jabrill Peppers, Jason McCourty, Jamar Taylor and Trevon Coley also took a knee.

Several Colts kneeled with others standing locking arms. Those who knelt included Darius Butler, Malik Hooker, Matt Hazel, Kamar Aiken, Marlon Mack, Al Woods and Rashaan Melvin.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville JaguarsThe Jaguars set the tone for the rest of the weekend, with team owner Shahid Khan joining his players on the field in London. More than 12 players kneeled during the anthem.

Several of the Ravens took a knee, including Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Za'Darius Smith, Tony Jefferson, Mike Wallace and Lardarius Webb. Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis also participated in the protest.

Regular season

• Marcus Peters, Chiefs (sat)
• Marshawn Lynch, Raiders (sat)
• Michael Bennett, Seahawks (sat)
• Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles (raised fist)
• Robert Quinn, Rams (raised fist)
• Martellus Bennett, Packers (raised fist)
• Chris Long, Eagles (put his hand on teammate Malcolm Jenkins's shoulder)
• Rodney McLeod, Eagles (put his hand on teammate Malcolm Jenkins's shoulder)
• Justin Britt, Seahawks (put his hand on teammate Michael Bennett's shoulder)
• Thomas Rawls, Seahawks (put his hand on teammate Michael Bennett's shoulder)
• Cliff Avril, Seahawks (sat)
• Frank Clark, Seahawks (sat)
• Johnny Hekker, Rams (embraced teammate Robert Quinn)
• Eric Reid, 49ers (kneeled surrounded by teammates)


• Marshawn Lynch, Raiders (sat)
• Michael Bennett, Seahawks (sat)
• Cliff Avril, Seahawks (sat during the end of the anthem)
• ​Seth DeValve, Browns (kneeled​)
• Duke Johnson Jr., Browns (kneeled)
• Terrance Magee, Browns (kneeled)
• Isaiah Crowell, Browns (kneeled)
• Kenny Britt, Browns (kneeled)
• Ricardo Louis, Browns (kneeled)​
• Jabrill Peppers, Browns (kneeled)
• Calvin Pryor, Browns (kneeled)
• Jamar Taylor, Browns (kneeled)
• Christian Kirksey, Browns (kneeled)
• Jamie Collins, Browns (kneeled)
• Ron Brooks, Eagles (kneeled)
• Shalom Luani, Raiders (kneeled)​
• Eric Reid, 49ers (kneeled)
• Cameron Jefferson, Bills (raised fist)
• Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles (raised fist)
• Jurrell Casey, Titans (raised fist)
• Wesley Woodyard, Titans (raised fist)
• Robert Quinn, Rams (raised fist)
• Jeremy Lane, Seahawks (stood with his back to the field and flag)
• Chris Long, Eagles (put his hand on teammate Malcolm Jenkins's shoulder)
• Derek Carr, Raiders (put his hand on teammate Khalil Mack's shoulder)
• Justin Britt, Seahawks (put his hand on teammate Michael Bennett's shoulder)
• DeShone Kizer, Browns (put his hand on teammate's shoulder)
• Britton Colquitt, Browns (put his hand on teammate's shoulder)
• Rodney McLeod, Eagles (put his hand on teammate Malcolm Jenkins's shoulder)
• ​Other Browns players, such as Jason McCourty and Shon Coleman, stood near the group of kneeling players on Monday night in an apparent show of support.
•​ About 30 Browns players stood with their arms linked together before their game against the Buccaneers