All Eyes Were on Players as the National Anthem Played During NFL Season Opener — Not One Took a Knee

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As the NFL kicked off the season opener, the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles were under the spotlight when the national anthem song began.

There were reportedly no players who knelt during the anthem, The Hill reported.

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All of the Falcons player stood, as most of the Eagles player stood — Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett walked around the teams bench and sat on it near the end of the song, but he didn’t kneel.

The Eagles safety, Malcolm Jenkins, has previously demonstrated his idea of a protest with raising his fist while standing against social injustice during the preseason opener against the Pittsburg Steelers, ESPN reported.

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Since, the Eagles safety took the next step in creating a relationship with the police and communities of color by participating in a “ride-along” with the Philadelphia Police Department, ABC News reported.

“I’m not afraid of a tough conversation,” Jenkins told ABC News. “But I wanted to get an understanding of what their challenges [are] and how do they view this issue, if they even see [the protests] as an issue.”

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Jenkins ended his protest when he co-founded the Players Coalition, which is focused on criminal justice reform issues.

The group of around 40 NFL members partnered with the NFL, where the NFL donates at least $89 million over seven years to the projects focused on criminal justice reform and community relations with law enforcement.

The NFL players’ protest started when former 49ers player, Colin Kaepernick, took a knee in protest of police brutality and racial inequality.

During this seasons preseason games, several players took a knee or raised their fist in protest.

Jenkins, along with Eagles cornerback, De’Vante Bausby, raised their fist during the anthem, while Miami Dolphins wide receivers, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, sat on the bench.

In addition, Dolphins defensive end, Robert Quinn, raised his fist, and four players on the Jacksonville Jaguars remained in the tunnel during the national anthem.

“I hope what I do off the field, you know, lives way longer than what I do on the field,” Jenkins told ABC News.

Earlier this year, the NFL worked to end the controversy by issuing a new policy that would require players to stand or remain in the locker room during the anthem or else they would be fined, but it was put on hold as a result of criticism.

Thursday’s game marks the first game for the season, but on Sunday, there will be 26 teams facing off and there will surely be eyes on what the players do during the national anthem.

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