The NFL season kicked off on Thursday between the Atlanta Falcons and defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
On Sunday, most of the other teams in the league took to the gridiron.
President Donald Trump vented on Twitter on Sunday morning, blasting the Falcons/Eagles game for historically low ratings.
Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
Then, later in the day, what everyone thought might happen, happened.
How many players protested? Three.
And it was blatant. Two took a knee.
Dolphins' Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson were kneeling during national anthem today in Miami, and Robert Quinn raised fist.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 9, 2018
From The Hill:
Three Miami Dolphins players protested during the national anthem before their season opener against Tennessee on Sunday.
Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the anthem while defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist, according to The Associated Press.
“I feel like the NFL could’ve done a better job of controlling the narrative from the beginning,” Stills said, according to the Post. “If the NFL would have done something like Nike did — some type of campaign, explaining this whole situation, having his back, supporting us, supporting our First Amendment right — then this thing would be going in a whole different direction. I think we’ve made progress but obviously we have a ways to go.”
Colin Kaepernick, the man who started the anthem kneeling trend back in 2016, praised the Miami Dolphins players.
My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed! They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward!
“Love is at the root of our resistance!”✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/2kSsX4s7EU
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 9, 2018
— Deborah Vannatta (@VannattaDebv) September 10, 2018
Miami Dolphins were congratulated by Kap for kneeling.
They couldn’t even look at our flag ?
Kap was delighted. Shame on you @Nike !!!!!!!
— blazerfan (@blazerfan) September 9, 2018
@MiamiDolphins I've been a lifelong Dolphin fan but I'll never watch, attend or anything for a Dolphins game unless the kneeling players are fined and benched. Don Shula must be beside himself with embarassment. Shame on the Dolphins.! Stand up for America!
— Michael Levinson (@LevinsonSF1) September 9, 2018
I wanted to become a Dolphins fan after living on and off in Fla for a long time, but they have always stunk and now they are kneeling, so no way. You should at least have a winning team before you get distracted on idiocy.
— Mike Mann (@mikemanndotcom) September 9, 2018
And dolphins players Kneeling…last Dolphin game I watch…I search…And no longer going to buy merchandise!!!!
— Tom Britton (@silfox1752) September 9, 2018
What a mess.