NFL Opening Night Marred by Protests as One Team Boycotts Anthem


And they’re off!

The 2020-2021 NFL season has officially begun, and scores of football fans couldn’t be more excited.

Well … maybe some fans could be more excited.

The inaugural game of the new NFL season has begun with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans, but somehow, even before a single second of actual on-field play occurred, there already appeared to be controversy afoot.

First, the Chiefs revealed social justice messages — “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us” — that were prominently featured in their stadium’s end zones:

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Perhaps more controversially, the Chiefs and Texans each partook in their own respective form of protest during the playing of the national anthem.

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The Texans opted not to come out for the national anthem at all. They instead chose to stay in the locker room during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When they did come out, there were audible boos.

Several Chiefs players, including the reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, linked arms. One Chiefs player, Alex Okafor, knelt during the anthem and raised his right fist.

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Further adding to the controversial pregame ceremonies, the Chiefs and Texans chose to have a “moment of silence” for the sake of equality. And yes, that very much sounds like booing in the background during this demonstration.

Speaking of pregame ceremonies, COVID-19 restrictions made them strange enough with or without the social justice demonstrations.

The national anthem was prerecorded, instead of being sung live as it usually is before NFL games.

Singers Chloe x Halle wore shirts very clearly featuring George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Alicia Keys sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” sometimes referred to as the “black national anthem.”

And it was obviously jarring to see the vastly reduced capacity of fans, all required to masks, not unlike Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

Of course, the NFL is hardly the only major sports league to dive headfirst into the social justice arena.

The National Basketball Association, despite a couple of players who’ve refused to kowtow, has featured virtually all of its players kneeling during the national anthem.

That trend has continued despite outrage and lagging ratings.

Major League Baseball, while not nearly in as widespread a manner as the NBA, has featured its fair share of kneeling and other protests:

The NFL very clearly has the support of its fellow sports leagues when it comes to social justice protests.

But will the audience support it?

That’s a completely different matter.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
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