The majority of Houston Texans players protested ahead of their Week 8 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 10 (most recent updates first):
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 on Monday night against the Panthers. 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. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips had his hand on Stills' right shoulder while standing. -- James Walker
San Francisco 49ers: The number of 49ers kneeling during the national anthem dropped from four to two on Sunday as safety Eric Reid and receiver Marquise Goodwin knelt before the game against the Giants. Wide receiver Louis Murphy held up his right fist during the anthem in his first game since re-signing with the team this past week. -- Nick Wagoner
New York Giants: Olivier Vernon continued to be the only Giant to protest. He kneeled during the anthem before Sunday's matchup against the 49ers, his first game back after missing four games with an ankle injury. -- Jordan Raanan
Los Angeles Rams: Outside linebacker Robert Quinn, inactive for the game because of an illness, put his right fist in the air during the national anthem. Punter Johnny Hekker put his arm around Quinn as a show of support, per usual. No Rams players kneeled before the game against the Texans. -- Alden Gonzalez
New Orleans Saints: Most of the Saints players briefly kneeled in unity before the anthem against the Bills, as they have done in their past five games. They then all stood during the anthem, with some players and coaches locking arms. -- Mike Triplett
Note: The Seahawks, Chargers and Titans, who have had at least one player protest during the national anthem in every game in Week 1-9 this season, did not have any players protest during Week 10, as the league celebrated Veterans Day weekend by honoring the military.