The majority of Houston Texans players protested ahead of last Sunday's game in Seattle after ESPN The Magazine reported that owner Bob McNair said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison," during mid-October owners meetings in reference to ongoing player demonstrations during the national anthem. McNair met with players and expressed regret for his comment. The Texans didn't have any players protest in Week 9.
The Texans' protest was the latest high-profile show of social activism by NFL players during the national anthem since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started doing it last season. In a pregame protest of racial oppression and inequality in the United States, Kaepernick sat during the national anthem before a 2016 preseason game, then knelt during the anthem throughout the season.
The players' movement for social equality gained more attention this season, when President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who lodge pregame protests, saying in a speech in Alabama on Sept. 22 that he wished those players would be released. He also encouraged fans who are offended to walk out of stadiums. 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 were several more protests in Week 4. Vice President Mike Pence left the 49ers-Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in Week 5 because of protesting that took place during the anthem.
Here are the players who protested in Week 9 (most recent updates first):
Detroit Lions: Running back Ameer Abdullah raised his left fist in the air during the national anthem prior to the Lions' game against the Packers on Monday night. He was one of eight Lions players who had kneeled and linked arms during the anthem before the team's Week 3 game against Atlanta, but this is the first time Abdullah has raised his fist during the anthem. -- Michael Rothstein
Miami Dolphins: Wide receiver Kenny Stills, safety Michael Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas took a knee on the field during the national anthem before the game Sunday night against the Raiders. The trio previously stayed in the locker room for the anthem against the Jets in Week 8. Coach Adam Gase had established a team rule requiring players either to stand for the anthem or stay in the tunnel, but Gase told players "don't worry about it" in terms of the team rule. If they want to come out and kneel, do it. There won't be any punishment or being forced to stay in the tunnel. -- James Walker
Oakland Raiders: In his return to the Raiders after serving a one-game suspension for making contact with an official, Marshawn Lynch resumed his policy of staying seated during the national anthem. He was surrounded again by Raiders employees to cover him as he sat, which he has been doing since the preseason. Lynch has not said why he has remained seated during the national anthem. He wore a T-shirt before the team's Week 4 game that read, "EVERYBODY -VS- TRUMP." -- Paul Gutierrez
Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback Marcus Peters came out of the tunnel after the national anthem was over before the game in Dallas. It was the second week in a row that he has done this. Peters had previously sat on a bench on the sideline for the anthem this season. -- Adam Teicher
Seattle Seahawks: New left tackle Duane Brown took a knee during the national anthem before the team’s game against Washington, while several of his new teammates continued to sit on the bench. Those players were all defensive linemen: Michael Bennett, Jarran Reed, Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson, Sheldon Richardson, Frank Clark and Branden Jackson. Offensive linemen Justin Britt and Oday Aboushi continued to stand next to those players. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite, who has knelt in recent weeks, stood on Sunday. -- Brady Henderson
San Francisco 49ers: Four members of the 49ers knelt during the national anthem before Sunday’s game against Arizona in protest of racial inequality. Safety Eric Reid, receiver Marquise Goodwin, linebacker Eli Harold and injured cornerback K'Waun Williams took part in the protest. Safety Adrian Colbert stood next to Goodwin with a hand on his shoulder. -- Nick Wagoner
Philadelphia Eagles: Safety Malcolm Jenkins continued demonstrating for social justice by raising his fist above his head during the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Safety Rodney McLeod joined him by raising a fist, as he has for the past several weeks. Defensive end Chris Long placed an arm around Jenkins as a sign of support, a gesture he has made since the August events in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. Most players joined servicemen and servicewomen in holding the football-field-size American flag during the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner." -- Tim McManus
New York Giants: Olivier Vernon continued to be the only Giant to protest. He kneeled during the anthem before Sunday's matchup against the Rams even though he remained sidelined for his fourth consecutive game. -- Jordan Raanan
New Orleans Saints: Most of the Saints players briefly kneeled in unity before the anthem against the Bucs, as they have done in their past four games. They then all stood during the anthem, with some players and coaches locking arms. -- Mike Triplett
Tennessee Titans: Wide receiver Rishard Matthews remained inside the locker room alone during the national anthem for the fifth consecutive game. The rest of the Titans stood on the field. Wesley Woodyard and Jurrell Casey were among those who raised a fist at the end of the anthem. -- Cameron Wolfe
Los Angeles Rams: Outside linebacker Robert Quinn raised his right fist in the air, and punter Johnny Hekker put his arm around him in support, as has been the case for most of the season. No Rams players knelt before the game against the Giants. -- Alden Gonzalez