Three Philadelphia Eagles players sat out the national anthem during Thursday’s preseason game against the New England Patriots, with two choosing to remain in the stadium tunnel instead of appearing alongside their teammates on the field.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De’Vante Bausby hung back until the song ended, NBC Sports Philadelphia reported. Defensive end Michael Bennett chose to sit in the locker room during the anthem.
Before the game, Jenkins had walked out onto the field wearing a T-shirt saying, “You Aren’t Listening” ― a phrase he used on posters in June in response to reporters’ questions about the Eagles being disinvited from the White House over the anthem protests.
Players from other teams protested the anthem in several ways during last Thursday’s games as well, taking a knee, raising a fist and keeping off the field altogether, causing President Donald Trump to weigh in.
“The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem,” he tweeted last week. “Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love...Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”
The NFL enacted a policy requiring players to stand during the anthem in May following continuous protests last season. It then placed the policy on hold in July after the players’ union complained that it went against their rights.