Add the New York Jets to the growing list of NFL teams that have protested during the national anthem.
Before New York’s home opener against the Miami Dolphins, the entire team linked arms during the playing of the national anthem. Acting owner Christopher Johnson linked arms with Jamal Adams and Josh McCown, according to reporters.
However, none of the Jets kneeled during the anthem. Several Dolphins, including Julius Thomas, Kenny Stills and Laremy Tunsil.
Since Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem last season, several players, including Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s Michael Bennett, have also kneeled in support of Kaepernick’s protest.
The protest has gained even more traction over the past few days after President Donald Trump brought up the issue Friday night. Trump said that a team’s owner should “get that son of a bitch off the field right now” if a player kneels for the anthem.
Since Trump’s comments, several NFL owners have released statements. The Jets’ Christopher Johnson has not been one of them. His brother, Woody Johnson, handed responsibilities down to Christopher after he accepted a role in President Trump’s administration as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Last year, Kaepernick, the originator of the national anthem protests, explained why he decided to kneel for the anthem.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
New York head coach Todd Bowles commented on the protests in the preseason, but a ton has changed since his answer.
“It’s their individual right,” Bowles said during the preseason when asked about player’s protesting. “We don’t have a rulebook on what’s right to protest and not protest. You don’t know those things until the course of time, whether it’s sitting for the anthem, whether it’s raising your fist, whether it’s speaking out, whether it’s the Walk to Washington, who is to say whose protest is good or bad?”
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams also spoke on the matter during the offseason.
“I would obviously support [a protesting teammate],” Williams said. “Everybody has a freedom of speech and the rights to do what they want to do. At the same time, I would try to tell them to stay focused on us.”