Some fans in attendance at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday appeared to boo during a pregame "Moment of Unity."
The gesture, which was conceived in part by Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, involved both teams coming together at midfield.
"The moment of unity I personally thought was good,” Texans star defensive lineman J.J. Watt said, via NFL Network, after Houston's 34-20 loss. “I mean, the booing during that moment was unfortunate. I don’t fully understand that. There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved other than two teams coming together to show unity."
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also weighed in on the moment, tweeting, "We’re a good city of good people. I heard boos too. But we also have hundreds of thousands more around here who respect the message the players are sharing; who respect the rights of our players and people to voice a strong message and who are working to make us better each day."
Seven phrases developed by players on both teams were displayed on the scoreboard during the moment:
- We Support Equality
- 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
The "Moment of Unity" took places following the performance of the national anthem. Players on the Houston Texans elected to remain in the locker room during the performance of both the national anthem and "Lift Every Voice and Sing," commonly know as the Black national anthem.
Players on the Kansas City Chiefs elected to remain on the field. Chiefs linebacker Alex Okafor took a knee during the national anthem, the lone Kansas City player to do so.
According to NBC Sports' Michele Tafoya, players on the Texans decided to stay in the locker room for both songs. Houston executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterly told NBC Sports that the demonstration was "Not about Black or white. It's about change."
Fans in attendance at Thursday's season opener also took part in the "Arrowhead Chop."
In late August, the team announced it was "engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop" and is "exploring all options for a modified engagement moment from the Drum Deck."
As part of that announcement, Kansas City also announced it had banned fans from wearing headdresses and face paint that "is styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures."