NFLers were silent and stood shoulder to shoulder to demand racial equality Thursday night – and some fans in the stands booed them for it.
It was a moment of silent silence in front of about 17,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. , On Thursday, before the NFL season opens between the mayor’s hometown and Houston, Texas.
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“Please join us for a moment of silence dedicated to the ongoing struggle for equality in our country,” said the stadium announcer, just before the planned moment of silence.
The players tied their arms and the sound instantly rose on the field, as several loud fans tried to disrupt the short gesture. Booing, shouts, and mockery erupted from the stands and fans cheered loudly after the moment, which lasted nearly 10 seconds, was over.
The players ‘gesture of respect – and the fans’ gestures of disrespect – came at a moment of turmoil in the United States. The country has seen protests against systemic racism and police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody last May. These protests were sparked by several other incidents in which blacks were injured or killed by law enforcement, as well as incendiary calls from the White House for “law and order.”
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Nearly two-thirds of all NFL players are black. Nearly all league owners are white, with two exceptions: a Pakistani-American man and an Asian-American woman.
The league has seen many protests about police brutality in recent years, dating back to Colin Kaepernick’s knee injury during the national anthem in 2016. Players have occasionally followed Kaepernick’s example since this happened, sparking outrage among some of their conservative fans. Kaepernick himself was hit by league owners and has not played since the protest season.
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The league has also become a starting point for criticism of US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly misrepresented players ’calls for equality as disrespecting the American anthem and the American flag.
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The two leaders and Texas discussed how they would talk about the pre-match before it happened on Thursday, and chose to show their solidarity at a moment separate from the national anthem.
There was no live version of the hymn. Instead, Alicia Keys appeared on the video to perform Raise every sound and sing, Black anthem, before Twinkling star banner Played on the video board. Texas visitors stayed in their locker room for the national anthem and then went out on the booing chorus.
“A moment of unity that I thought was good,” Texas player JJ Watt told reporters after the match. “The booing during that moment (of silence) was unfortunate,” he added. “I don’t quite understand that. There was no science involved. There was nothing in common except for two teams who came together to show unity.”
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The NFL tweeted a clip that appears to be controlling the volume for a moment Thursday night. However, broadcast footage and fan videos capture booing, which came out soon after the players lined up together.
Both coaches claimed ignorance when it came to fads.
Texas coach Bill O’Brien said after the match, “They were probably booing us because we just came to the field as a visiting team.” “But yeah, I thought that was a nice gesture,” he said.
Presidents coach Andy Reid also claimed not to hear the booing.
After the match, he said, “I am proud of our players, but I am also proud of our fans.” “They were noisy.”
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Several players from the game and other teams said they were confused by the reaction.
“We wanted to show unity and we wanted to show that we would come together and fight well,” said Chief Mediator Patrick Mahomes.
Baltimore Ravens midfielder Robert Griffin III expressed disbelief on Twitter.
“How can you be more upset about spreading awareness of racism than racism itself?” he is chirp.
Griffin also shared a video posted by the NFL Players Association on Thursday, which sought to explain why the players were asking for justice. The video shows Kaepernick, Griffin and several other players explain their positions, responding to Trump and their far-right critics.
“All of these things are happening in our country, and the police are really killing blacks at an alarming rate,” Buffalo Bills player Josh Norman says in the video. “Would you take that and say we kneel before the flag?”
Kansas City Councilor Eric Brunch said it was an “embarrassing” moment for the city.
“Some NFL fans booing players for standing up and holding their arms up in a moment of silent solitude proves that for them” standing up for the science “has always been about perpetuating white supremacy,” chirp. “Let’s do better, KC.”
The NBA went even further than NFL with its calls for racial justice. Last month, NBA players organized their short strike in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man shot in the back in Kenosha, Wes.
Many other major sports have followed the NBA model, even though the NFL was not playing at the time.
The NFL kicked off its season Thursday in front of a drastically reduced audience due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. The Chiefs Stadium usually accommodated 80,000 fans, but only 17,000 spectators were allowed in the match.
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– With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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