NFL players kneel during national anthem before first preseason game

NFL players kneel during national anthem before first preseason game

The NFL issued a statement Thursday night saying they will continue to play the anthem before games.

The 2018 NFL preseason got underway in earnest Thursday night with 24 teams taking the field, and as such, the protest against racial and social injustice continued at a couple stadiums around the league.

Select members of the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles protested during the playing of the national anthem before their preseason games on Thursday.

Kaepernick applauded the Dolphins players shortly after the display for their protest of "systemic oppression".

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The protests about racial injustice and social inequality led players to kneel during the anthem and it was a big issue at National Football League games last season. It happened before the Dolphins game against the Buccaneers, and former Chief Albert Wilson was one of the players who took a knee.

Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett, a frequent protestor past year when he played for the Seattle Seahawks, walked out of the tunnel as the anthem played. Teammate Chris Long reportedly "placed his arm around Jenkins' shoulder" during the song.

The debate ratcheted up a notch in 2017 when US President Donald Trump said kneeling players showed "total disrespect for our great country". The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem.

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.

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