NFL players who protested during national anthem in Week 15 – NFL Nation

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President Donald Trump last month bashed a plan that would keep NFL teams in the locker room during the national anthem, saying it is “almost as bad as kneeling.” Trump has also criticized free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who launched the wave of protests during the anthem last season when he kneeled to protest police brutality against African-Americans and other issues — on multiple occasions and made claims that players who protest during the anthem should be suspended or released. Several players and coaches reacted strongly to Trump on social media, and players — joined by coaches and owners, in some instances — across the league knelt, locked arms, raised their fists and even refused to come out of the locker room during the national anthem in Week 3. There have been several more protests since.

Previous protests this season, by week: 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Preseason

Here are the players who protested in Week 15 (most recent updates first):


New York Giants: Olivier Vernon continued to be the only Giants player to protest, kneeling during the anthem before Sunday’s game against the Eagles. It was his sixth game back after missing four games with an ankle injury. Vernon has done so at every game since Week 3 in Philadelphia. He said recently he plans to continue kneeling until the real message behind the protests is understood by the public. — Jordan Raanan


New Orleans Saints: Most of the Saints players briefly kneeled in unity before the national anthem against the Jets, as they have done in their past 10 games. They then all stood during the anthem, with some players and coaches locking arms. — Mike Triplett


Miami Dolphins: Wide receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Julius Thomas took a knee on the field during the national anthem before the Dolphins’ game against the Bills. Safety Michael Thomas, who has joined Stills and Thomas this season, did not make the trip to Buffalo due to a knee injury. The trio previously stayed in the locker room for the anthem against the Jets in Week 7, but they have kneeled the past few weeks. Dolphins coach Adam Gase had established a team rule requiring players to either stand for the anthem or stay in the tunnel, but Gase recently told players that if they wanted to come out and kneel, they could do it and they won’t be punished for it. — James Walker


Los Angeles Chargers: Left tackle Russell Okung stood with the rest of his teammates during the national anthem before Saturday’s game against the Chiefs, raising his right fist for the fourth straight week. Okung had not raised his fist the two weeks before that as the NFL honored the military, but he did earlier this season. Okung said earlier this year that despite an agreement in principle between the NFL and the Players Coalition to address criminal justice reform, he will continue to protest during the national anthem on game days. He attended a meeting in October with NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss how the league would handle anthem protests. Earlier this season, Okung wrote an open letter to other NFL players on The Players’ Tribune, with the goal of overcoming “uncharted territory” by opening a line of communication and responding with “one voice” as players. — Eric D. Williams


Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback Marcus Peters came out of the tunnel after the national anthem was over before the Chiefs’ game against the Chargers on Saturday. This was the sixth game in a row he had done this, though he was suspended in Week 14. Peters had previously sat on a bench on the sideline for the anthem this season. — Adam Teicher



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