America’s NFL pitches have become stages for a number of demonstrations about wider social issues. The latest came from the Seattle Seahawks team, who joined arms before their game on Sunday 11 September.
In light of recent events surrounding gun violence and police brutality, some athletes have ignored national anthem protocol, due to feeling let down by their country’s flag.
On Sunday, this continued at CenturyLink field, before a game between Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins. Seattle players, coaches and staff, linked arms in an attempt to symbolise the unity that they value within their squad, the type of unity that America is lacking as a country.
Quarterback Russell Wilson highlighted what he wanted people to take from the team’s demonstration, saying, “Not every police officer is a bad police officer. Not every African American is a bad person”.
Wilson went on to say, “When I look at our football team and the people we have in the locker room, we have so many guys who come from different socioeconomic statuses, different races, different relationship situations and all that”. He finished by explaining that, “It comes down to appreciating one another, understanding that God made everybody different, made everybody unique”.
As for the opposition, they stayed divided. A number of Miami players opted to kneel during the national anthem, whilst the rest stood hand on heart as normal.
Earlier that day, Kansas City Chiefs player Marcus Peters made his own contribution to the national anthem debate. He stood with one arm in the air whilst wearing a black glove, seemingly symbolising John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s 1968 Black Power salute at the Olympics.
As more athletes join the protest, and more onlookers voice their opinions, discussions on the matter are still in full swing.