Matt York/AP

What will NFL protests and demonstrations look like in Week 4?

By Jacob Feldman
September 26, 2017

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins hopes that Week 3’s explosion of activism is "not a one-week thing." Ben Roethlisberger regretted his decision to stay inside for the national anthem, saying, "I personally don’t believe the anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest." Members of the Cardinals and Cowboys also demonstrated on Monday Night Football, with Dallas kneeling as a team before the national anthem and the Cardinals linking arms during the song. For his part, President Donald Trump tweeted seven times on the topic on Monday, including a retweet of an image of Pat Tillman, the former NFL safety turned Army Ranger who was killed by friendly fire, in 2004, in Afghanistan (Tillman's widow responded via CNN's Brian Stelter).

What will happen to the movement by NFL players to promote racial equality in Week 4 and beyond? I chatted with The MMQB’s Robert Klemko, who had plenty to say on the topic after spending Sunday in Tennessee and learning about how the Seahawks' protest decision was formed (and previously opining on the issue).

FELDMAN: Did you get the sense that players were happy with how yesterday's demonstrations were executed and how they were received?

KLEMKO: I think they're wary of anticipating what the response is going to be. Many of them were disappointed in the first place, last year, to find so many Americans interpreting their actions as some sort of affront to American soldiers past and present, despite repeated and concise explanations by many players that they had no contempt for the military.

FELDMAN: What do you think is the next step for those who protested—and those who opted not to?

KLEMKO: It's a continuing discussion. My guess is you will see more teams decide they'd rather sit out the anthem, as teams did pre-2009, before the growing fetishization of the military in the American sports landscape demanded that players participate in the pageantry.

FELDMAN: What would you guess sidelines will look like next Sunday during the anthem?

KLEMKO: A lot of it will depend on the President. If he continues to lob schoolyard insults at black athletes and use racist dog-whistle terms like "ungrateful multi-millionaires," I think you'll see much of the same. If he turns his focus to the job he was elected to do, or at least points his social media ire at some other entity, I think the tenor and volume of the protests will return to what they were last week—an earnest few hoping to create a national conversation about police brutality and racial inequality.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King's MMQB, including comments from Roger Goodell ... Andy Benoit makes suggestions for the Seahawks’ offense ... Tim Rohan recounts how Shad Khan set the tone for unity ... and more

LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Power rankings return after a tumultuous Week 3 ... King explains what Trump could learn from Vince Lombardi ... and more. Stay tuned.

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PRESS COVERAGE

Dak Prescott threw for only 183 yards Monday night, but efficient passing and a running score by the Cowboys QB helped Dallas get back on track with a win.
Ross D. Franklin/AP

1. Cowboys 28, Cardinals 17. Dallas got back on track with a Monday night road victory despite being outgained by Arizona. Dak Prescott threw for only 183 yards but was an efficient 13-for-18 passing, helping the Cowboys turn all three of their red-zone trips into touchdowns.

2. Jake Elliott after making a 61-yard game-winning kick for the Eagles on Sunday: "It’s a little surreal," the recent pick-up said. "It’s the life of a kicker, though."​

NFL
NFL Week 3 Had It All, Including Unknown Kicker’s 61-Yard Game-Winner in Philadelphia

3. On the other side of the Philadelphia-Giants game, Odell Beckham Jr. displayed his greatness, and his lack of awareness in the loss, writes Mark Maske. (For what it's worth, Beckham tweeted yesterday that his dog celebration might have been a response to Trump's comments from Friday.)

4. Dolphins coach Adam Gase pulled few punches when talking about his offense. “A lot of bad football,” he said. “Just garbage.”

Lions wideout Golden Tate came up inches short on the final play of Detroit's home loss Sunday.
Detroit Lions/AP

5. Lions fans and writers are (reasonably) still dissecting the end of the team's loss Sunday, with some saying Detroit should have had one second left after the 10-second runoff. However, college football ref and SB Nation writer Cyd Zeigler defended the officials' execution. As for the players, at least one thought "we got hosed by the refs."

6. Over the weekend, author Steven Levingston published a historically relevant story in The Washington Post on how Jackie Robinson changed John Kennedy's stance on civil rights, including misunderstandings and a small controversy over eye contact. In the present day, Eric Reid—the first player to join Colin Kaepernick's protest last year—published a New York Times op-ed to explain "Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee."

7. No offense to Latavius Murray or Jerick McKinnon, but Dalvin Cook has earned the right to be the Vikings' every-down running back.

NFL
Tom Brady Is an Ageless Wonder. Enjoy It While It Lasts

8. Lars Anderson has the moving story of "How Football Swept in Hope After a Hurricane."

9. A couple notable bits of injury news: Eagles RB Darren Sproles somehow broke his arm and tore an ACL on the same play Sunday, ending his season. That's rough . . . One of the cornerstones of the Buccaneers’ defense, linebacker Lavonte David, will miss less time than initially feared with an ankle injury

10. As part of his sports history series, Michael Imhoff presents a short video on the first NFL touchdown celebration.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let me know here.

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THE KICKER

Was this play-by-play call the best of Week 3? Si, senor!

Question? Comment? Story idea? Email me directly or let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

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