NFL protests: a team-by-team guide to which players protested the national anthem on Sunday

The NFL and its player responded en masse to President Trump's comments on the #TakeAKnee protest. Which players made a (metaphorical) stand yesterday?


On Friday September 22nd, at a rally in Alabama, President Donald Trump made comments about NFL players who chose to protest during the performance of the national anthem. Trump called for NFL owners to fire any player who knelt or sat during the anthem, referring to such a player as a “son of a bitch”.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement defending the players, followed shortly by a statement from DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFLPA. Over the course of the weekend, almost every NFL team issued a statement about the President’s comments, and Sunday’s games saw a record number of players protest in one form or another – by our count, 319 players, roughly 25% of the players who were active to play yesterday.

Below is a list of players who were either seen on broadcast or in-game photographs protesting, or were reported as protesting by various media. We have also listed what statements have been issued by teams or their ownership.

Arizona Cardinals

Team president Michael Bidwell has issued a statement in support of his players. The Cardinals play the Dallas Cowboys tonight.

Atlanta Falcons

#92Dontari Poe, nose tackle
#97Grady Jarrett, defensive tackle
Other members of the Falcons roster, along with coaching staff and owner Arthur Blank, linked arms during the national anthem

Arthur Blank has issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Baltimore Ravens

#17Mike Wallace, wide receiver
#21Lardarius Webb, defensive back
#23Tony Jefferson, safety
#29Marlon Humphrey, cornerback
#36Chuck Clark, safety
#41Anthony Levine, defensive back/linebacker
#54Tyus Bowser, outside linebacker
#55Terrell Suggs, outside linebacker
#57CJ Mosely, inside linebacker
#69Willie Henry, defensive tackle
#90Za’Darius Smith, outside linebacker
#94Carl Davis, defensive tackle
#99Matthew Judon, outside linebacker
Ray LewisLewis was on the sideline as an honorary captain for the game; he knelt with the players on the sideline
The rest of the Ravens roster, together with their coaching staff, linked arms during the national anthem. Before yesterday, no Ravens had taken part in any anthem protest

Owner Steve Bisciotti has issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Buffalo Bills

#20Shareece Wright, cornerback
#24Leonard Johnson, cornerback
#25LeSean McCoyRather than kneeling or sitting, McCoy undertook a pre-game stretching routine during the national anthem
#35Mike Tolbert, fullback
#56Ryan Davis, defensive end
#57Lorenzo Alexander, linebacker
#87Jordan Matthews, wide receiver
#90Shaq Lawson, defensive end
#91Cedric Thornton, defensive tackle
#99Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle
Other Bills players, as well as coaches, linked arms during the national anthem

Owners Terry and Kim Pegula have issued a statement supporting their players’ right to protest.

Carolina Panthers

Only defensive end Julius Peppers protested, by remaining inside the locker room during the national anthem. No other sign of protest – even linking arms – was undertaken by any member of the Panthers organisation. At time of press, no statement has been issued by the Panthers about President Trump’s comments.

Chicago Bears

Players and staff linked arms during the national anthem. Team chairman George McCaskey has issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Cincinnati Bengals

Almost all Bengals players and coaches linked arms during the national anthem. No Bengals player has ever kneeled during the national anthem. The team have issued a statement simply stating that “football and politics don’t mix easily”, and that the team’s focus should be on the field.

Cleveland Browns

#18Kenny Britt, wide receiver
#21Jamar Taylor, defensive back
#22Jabrill Peppers, defensive back
#24Ibraheim Campbell, defensive back
#26Derrick Kindred, defensive back
#30Jason McCourty, defensive back
#31Reggie Porter, defensive back
#34Isaiah Crowell, running back
#41Mike Jordan, defensive back
#50BJ Bello, linebacker
#52James Burgess, linebacker
#54Dominique Alexander, linebacker
#58Christian Kirksey, linebacker
#65Larry Ogunjobi, defensive line
#86Randall Telfer, tight end
#93Trevon Coley, defensive line
#99Caleb Brantley, defensive line
All players, standing or kneeling, linked arms during the national anthem. Owner Jimmy Haslam, while not appearing on the Browns sideline yesterday, linked arms with players during the national anthem in the Browns’ opening game of the season – the only owner to do so prior to President Trump’s comments of Friday 22nd

Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have issued a statement denouncing Trump’s comments and supporting their players’ right to protest.

Dallas Cowboys

Team owner Jerry Jones has issued a statement that the performing of the national anthem is not the right place to “express yourself”. Jones had previously donated $1 million to President Trump’s campaign. The Cowboys will play the Arizona Cardinals tonight.

Denver Broncos

#10Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver
#14Cody Latimer, wide receiver
#16Bennie Fowler, wide receiver
#20Jamal Carter, safety
#21Aqib Talib, cornerback
#25Chris Harris, cornerback
#28Jamaal Charles, running back
#31Justin Simmons, safety
#33De’Angelo Henderson, running back
#34Will Parks, safety
#37Lorenzo Doss, cornerback
#48Shaquil Barrett, outside linebackerBarrett did not kneel, but raised a fist during the national anthem
#50Zaire Anderson, inside linebacker
#54Brandon Marshall, inside linebacker
#57DeMarcus Walker, defensive end
#58Von Miller, outside linebacker
#65Ron Leary, guard
#71Donald Stephenson, offensive tackle
#75Menelik Watson, offensive tackle
#76Max Garcia, guard
#85Virgil Green, tight endGreen did not kneel, but raised a fist during the national anthem
#88Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver
#92Zach Kerr, defensive end
#94Domata Peko, nose tackle
#96Shelby Harris, defensive end
#99Adam Gotsis, defensive end

Team president Joe Ellis has issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Detroit Lions

#21Ameer Abdullah, running back
#44Jalen Reeves-Maybin, linebacker
#58Paul Worrilow, linebacker
#59Tahir Whitehead, linebacker
#90Cornelious Washington, defensive end
#91A’Shawn Robinson, defensive tackle
#97Akeem Spence, defensive tackle
#98Jeremiah Ledbetter, defensive tackle
Other Lions players, together with the coaching staff, and team owner Martha Ford and her daughters, linked arms during the national anthem

Team owner Martha Ford has issued a statement supporting her players’ right to protest.

Green Bay Packers

#20Kevin King, cornerbackKing sat on the bench during the national anthem
#80Martellus Bennett, tight endBennett sat on the bench during the national anthem; during the first two games of the season, Bennett stood for the national anthem with his fist raised
#84Lance Kendricks, tight endKendricks sat on the bench during the national anthem
Other Packers players linked arms during the national anthem

Team president Mark Murphy has issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Houston Texans

The Texans players and coaches linked arms during the national anthem, only the second time anyone involved in the organisation has protested the anthem. Team owner Bob McNair supported his players’ right to protest. McNair had previously donated $1 million to President Trump’s campaign.

Indianapolis Colts

#14Matt Hazel, wide receiver
#17Kamar Aiken, wide receiver
#20Darius Butler, safety
#29Malik Hooker, safety
#30Rashaan Melvin, cornerback
#58Tarell Basham, defensive end
#93Jabaal Sheard, outside linebacker
#99Al Woods, nose tackle
Other Lions players linked arms during the national anthem. This was the first protest by a Colts player since Week 4 of the 2016 season

Team owner Jim Irsay has issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Jacksonville Jaguars

#20Jalen Ramsey, cornerback
#21AJ Bouye, cornerback
#23Tyler Patmon, cornerback
#27Leonard Fournette, running back
#39Tashaun Gipson, safety
#56Dante Fowler, defensive end
#77Patrick Omameh, offensive line
#91Yannick Ngakoue, defensive end
#92Sheldon Day, defensive tackle
#93Calais Campbell, defensive line
#94Dawuane Smoot, defensive end
#95Abry Jones, defensive tackle
#97Malik Jackson, defensive line
#99Eli Ankou, defensive tackle
The rest of the Jaguars roster, together with their coaching staff and owner Shahid Khan – who had previously donated $1 million to Donald Trump – linked arms during the national anthem

Team owner Shahid Khan issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Kansas City Chiefs

#10Tyreek Hill, wide receiver
#17Chris Conley, wide receiver
#22Marcus Peters, defensive backPeters sat on the bench during the national anthem
#31Kareem Hunt, running backHunt sat on the bench during the national anthem
#48Terrance Smith, linebacker
#87Travis Kelce, tight end
#92Tanoh Kpassagnon, linebackerKpassagnon sat on the bench during the national anthem
#95Chris Jones, defensive line
Linebacker Justin Houston knelt in prayer during the national anthem

Team owner Clark Hunt issued a statement asserting his belief in honoring the American flag, while also acknowledging the right to have differences of opinion.

Los Angeles Chargers

#40Chris McCain, defensive end
#71Damion Square, defensive tackleSquare sat on the bench during the national anthem
#92Brandon Mebane, nose tackleMebane sat on the bench during the national anthem
#93Darius Philon, defensive endPhilon sat on the bench during the national anthem
#95Tenny Palepoi, defensive tackle
Players, coaches, general manager Tom Telesco and owner Dean Spanos all linked arms during the national anthem

Team owner Dean Spanos issued a statement agreeing “wholeheartedly” with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement denouncing President Trump’s comments.

Los Angeles Rams

Team owner Stan Kroenke issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest. The Rams played the 49ers last Thursday.

Miami Dolphins

#10Kenny Stills, wide receiver
#23Jay Ajayi, running back
#27Maurice Smith, safety
#67Laremy Tunsil, offensive tackle
#89Julius Thomas, tight end
The Dolphins players, coaches and owner Stephen Ross linked arms during the national anthem

Team owner Stephen Ross issued a statement defending his players who have chosen to kneel.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings players, coaches, and owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, linked arms during the national anthem. The Wilfs issued a statement supporting their players’ right to protest.

New England Patriots

#21Malcolm Butler, cornerback
#24Stephon Gilmore, cornerback
#28James White, running back
#29Johnson Bademosi, cornerback
#30Duron Harmon, defensive back
#31Jonathan Jones, defensive back
#32Devin McCourty, defensive back
#36Brandon King, defensive back
#37Jordan Richards, defensive back
#38Brandon Bolden, running back
#52Elandon Roberts, linebacker
#70Adam Butler, defensive line
#90Malcom Brown, defensive line
#91Deatrich Wise, defensive line
#93Lawrence Guy, defensive line
#97Andre Branch, defensive line
#98Trey Flowers, defensive line
Many of the remaining Patriots players, including Tom Brady, linked arms during the national anthem

Team owner Robert Kraft issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest. Kraft had been a donor to the Trump campaign, and has close personal ties to the President, presenting him with a Super Bowl LI ring.

New Orleans Saints

#16Brandon Coleman, wide receiverColeman sat on the bench during the national anthem
#25Rafael Bush, safetyBush sat on the bench during the national anthem
#28Mark Ingram, running backIngram sat on the bench during the national anthem
#31Chris Banjo, safetyBanjo sat on the bench during the national anthem
#32Kenny Vaccaro, safetyVaccaro sat on the bench during the national anthem
#41Alvin Kamara, running backKamara sat on the bench during the national anthem
#57Alex Okafor, defensive endOkafor sat on the bench during the national anthem
#72Terron ArmsteadArmstead stayed in the locker room until after the national anthem
#94Cam Jordan, defensive endJordan sat on the bench during the national anthem
#98Sheldon Rankins, defensive tackleRankins sat on the bench during the national anthem
Four Saints players – tight end Coby Fleener, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, punter Thomas Morstead and linebacker Craig Robertson – stood with the player who had sat on the bench. No Saints players had protested the national anthem before Sunday

Team owner Tom Benson issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

New York Giants

#21Landon Collins, safety
#54Olivier Vernon, defensive end
#98Damon Harrison, defensive tackle
The rest of the Giants roster linked arms during the national anthem. This marked the first time that a member of the Giants roster knelt for the national anthem

Team owners John Mara and Steve Tisch released a statement condemning President Trump’s comments.

New York Jets

All Jets players, coaches and staff, including acting owner Christopher Johnson (whose brother, owner Woody Johnson, donated $1 million to President Trump’s campaign and was appointed by the President to the position of ambassador tot he UK), linked arms during the national anthem. Woody Johnson has not issued any statement about the President’s comments. Christopher Johnson told the press on Sunday that he was “disappointed” by the President’s comments.

Oakland Raiders

#27Reggie Nelson, safetyNelson sat on the bench during the national anthem
#32Antonio Hamilton, cornerbackHamilton sat on the bench during the national anthem
#39Keith McGill, defensive backMcGill sat on the bench during the national anthem
#42Karl Joseph, safetyJoseph sat on the bench during the national anthem
#47James Cowser, linebacker/defensive endCowser sat on the bench during the national anthem
#51Bruce Irvin, linebackerIrvin sat on the bench during the national anthem
#55Marquel Lee, linebackerLee sat on the bench during the national anthem
#56Xavier Woodson-Luster, linebackerWoodson-Luster sat on the bench during the national anthem
#58Tyrell Adams, linebackerAdams sat on the bench during the national anthem
#61Rodney Hudson, centerHudson sat on the bench during the national anthem
#66Gabe Jackson, guardJackson sat on the bench during the national anthem
#70Kelechi Osemele, offensive lineOsemele sat on the bench during the national anthem
#72Donald Penn, offensive tacklePenn sat on the bench during the national anthem
#73Marshall Newhouse, offensive lineNewhouse sat on the bench during the national anthem
#78Justin Ellis, defensive tackleEllis sat on the bench during the national anthem
#90Treyvon Hester, defensive tackleHester sat on the bench during the national anthem
#94Eddie Vanderdoes, defensive tackleVanderdoes sat on the bench during the national anthem
#96Denico Autry, defensive lineAutry sat on the bench during the national anthem
#97Mario Edwards, defensive endEdwards sat on the bench during the national anthem
Players who stood for the national anthem, along with coaches, linked arms during the national anthem

Team owner Mark Davis issued a statement saying that, despite previously asking his players not to protest the national anthem, he no longer feels he can ask that of his players, and instead supports their right to protest.

Philadelphia Eagles

#14Marcus Johnson, wide receiverJohnson did not kneel but raised his fist during the national anthem
#27Malcolm Jenkins, safetyJenkins did not kneel but raised his fist during the national anthem
#82Torrey Smith, wide receiverSmith did not kneel but raised his fist during the national anthem
Most Eagles players, team executives (including owner Jeffrey Lurie), servicemen and women, and police officers all linked arms during the national anthem. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks appeared to be the only Eagles player not taking part in the protest

Team owner Jeffrey Lurie issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Almost every member of the Pittsburgh Steelers roster remained inside the locker room for the national anthem. The lone exception was Alejandro Villanueva, who previously served as an Army Ranger; he stood for the national anthem in the mouth of the players’ tunnel. Team owner Art Rooney issued a statement hoping that the country will come together “to respect diverse opinions”.

San Francisco 49ers

Team CEO Jed York issued a statement condemnig the President’s comments. The team played the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday.

Seattle Seahawks

The entire Seahawks organisation remained in the locker room during the national anthem. Team president Peter McLoughlin issued a statement supporting his players’ right to protest.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#11Desean Jackson, wide receiver
#13Mike Evans, wide receiverEvans previously knelt for the national anthem for one game last season, abandoning the practice afterwards until last Sunday
Many other members of the Buccaneers roster linked arms during the national anthem

Team co-chairman Joel Glazer issued a statement recognising his players’ right to protest.

Tennessee Titans

The entire Titans organisation remained in the locker room during the national anthem. Team owner Amy Adams Strunk issued a statement supporting her players’ right to protest.

Washington Redskins

#18Josh Doctson, wide receiver
#52Ryan Anderson, linebacker
#55Chris Carter, linebacker
#80Jamison Crowder, wide receiver
#83Brian Quick, wide receiver
#84Niles Paul, tight end
#86Jordan Reed, tight end
The rest of the Redskins roster, along with owner Dan Snyder, linked arms during the national anthem

The team has issued a statement asserting that they are “proud of our players, coaches and fans” for their community work.

Do you think we will see this scale of protest continue throughout the season? Let us know in the comments below!

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Gur Samuel

Hi! I'm Gur and I'm RealSport's Editor-in-Chief. I'm also currently the site's tennis editor, and contribute to our NFL, wrestling and Formula 1 coverage as well. I'm also an NFL analyst for CNN International and contributor to SB Nation, and have contributed to, or been interviewed by, various print, broadcast and online media, including Sky News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

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