Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson of Dolphins first to kneel for anthem in 2018
Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the national anthem before the team’s preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the first players to do so since the NFL tried to implement a rule requiring players to stand.
Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during the national anthem. Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 9, 2018
It is officially year three of the protests, which Colin Kaepernick started in the 2016 preseason as a means to bring attention to extrajudicial violence by police against black people.
The NFL’s 32 team owners unanimously approved a new policy this offseason to require players to stand respectfully during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but the NFLPA appealed the rule. In July, the league and players association jointly announced that the new rule was “frozen” until further notice.
The rule would have fined teams whose players protested during the anthem, but allowed the teams the choice to wait in the locker room or tunnel while the anthem was performed.
Thursday was the first full slate of 2018 NFL preseason games, one week after the Baltimore Ravens beat the Chicago Bears at the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. No players knelt during the anthem that night.
Stills and Wilson have both knelt during the anthem in the past.
After the rule was announced but before it was “frozen,” Jurrell Casey of the Tennessee Titans vowed to continue to protest, as he put it, “during the flag.”