A contingent of NFL superstars took to social media on Thursday night to demand more from the NFL — specifically, stronger condemnations of the systemic racism and police brutality that’s affected the black community, as well as an admission that the league was wrong to silence peacefully protesting players in years past. Now, according to veteran running back Adrian Peterson, plenty more players are set to revive those peaceful on-field protests to raise awareness for injustice.
“Years ago, seeing (Colin) Kaepernick taking a knee, now we’re all ready to take a knee together going into this season without a doubt,” Peterson said while distributing food packages in the Houston area, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.
Asked whether he, personally, will kneel during the national anthem ahead of games this year, the Washington Redskins back added this: “Without a doubt. Without a doubt.”
Peterson’s declaration comes on the heels of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the running back’s former teammate, saying he still doesn’t agree with anyone who kneels during the anthem. Brees, of course, has since apologized twice for those remarks, calling his own words “insensitive” and pledging allegiance to the black community in its fight against “systemic racial injustice.” CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Friday that some players still take issue with the QB’s original statement.
NFL sources indicated to CBS Sports earlier this week that some players could bring back on-field demonstrations to raise awareness of systemic racism. Several suggested they would not necessarily kneel, as Kaepernick first did while playing for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, but might link arms to show “racial unity.”
The NFL previously passed a national anthem policy prior to the 2018 season in the wake of mass protests, dictating that players either stand for the pregame song, remain in the locker room or face a team fine for demonstrating during the anthem. The league shelved the policy prior to kickoff, however.