Several NFL players have reportedly started thinking about new ways to protest police brutality as well as the football league itself since a new, controversial national anthem policy was announced last week.
Players were considering sitting out this season until free agents Colin Kaepernick, who led the kneeling protests to demonstrate for social justice, and Eric Reid are welcomed back to the league and signed to a team. Twenty-five percent of the league’s players were being recruited to sit out, columnist Shaun King tweeted Sunday.
Several public figures have protested the NFL’s recent decision to ban kneeling on the field and punish players who choose to do it. U.S. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District joined in the protest, pushing for a league boycott over the “cowardly” ban over the weekend.
Ellison, who has supported NFL players-turned-activists against police brutality, was one of the latest public figures to oppose the league’s choice. Michael Colter, star of Netflix’s “Luke Cage,” and comedienne Wanda Sykes have protested the NFL decision with players, as well.
Players deciding to stay on the field during the season can still choose to protest brutality in creative ways that don’t violate the league’s anthem policy. Could players still stand up for kneeling in the locker room? Well, they can choose to start another major protest movement like Kaep and likely will find a creative way to do so.
It’s clear that NFL players won’t stop fighting brutality, being outspoken about it off the field and outside the league. Desmond Marrow, a former NFL player, spoke out last month after he was violently arrested by three police officers in Georgia last December. Seattle Seahawks’ defensive end Michael Bennett, who also sat during the national anthem in protest, hired a civil rights attorney after he was singled out by Las Vegas police and had guns pointed out him last September. Those horrible experiences will likely fuel players to continue protesting police violence.