As discussions around the National Football League continue to abound regarding Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem, the Chiefs made a demonstration of their own prior to their season opener Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
With a full-length flag draped over the field, the Chiefs’ entire team linked arm-in-arm on the sideline. Cornerback Marcus Peters, who stood at the end, also raised his right fist in the air.
Peters wore black gloves, something he did intermittently at times last year.
Kaepernick’s protest is in objection to what he sees as the oppression of African-Americans and against police brutality. According to a Chiefs spokesman, several players have been contemplating the implications of a demonstration all week.
“After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the national anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity,” according to a statement released by the team. “It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone’s opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11. It’s our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed.
“Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community.”
Peters said on Friday that he “salutes” Kaepernick’s cause and is 100 percent behind him. After the game Sunday, Peters said “Coach” had told him it was OK to express his feelings during the anthem.
It was unclear if he meant Andy Reid or an assistant, though Reid said of Peters after the game: “He just wants what is right, like we all do. I think that’s the important thing. What the players are doing right now is important. Let’s just all get along and that would be a beautiful thing.”
Said Peters: “I was just stating how I’m black, I love being black (and) I'm supporting Colin and what he’s doing as far as raising awareness with the justice system. But I didn’t mean anything (bad) by it.
“It’s not about attention for me. I’m more so ‘Don’t Talk About it, Be About It.’ I come from a majority black community from Oakland, Calif. I’ve grown up around my people a lot. The struggle I see, I still have family that struggles. I’m not saying one thing or another, but we need to educate the youth coming up. If we keep educating the kids, then maybe we’ll eliminate these problems.”