Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters had already made it clear that he supported Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. “It’s big,” Peters said. “It’s real big what they’re doing. I salute Colin for what he’s doing. He’s standing up for a great cause.” On Sunday, he put that support into action, raising his right fist as the national anthem played before the Chiefs’ Week 1 game against the San Diego Chargers.
Peters appeared to be wearing a black glove, a likely homage to that famous moment when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists at the Olympics in 1968. Late last month, Robert Lipsyte wrote on Slate that Kaepernick’s protest amounted to “the boldest display of athletic activism since that 1968 black-power salute in Mexico.”
While Peters was the only member of the Chiefs to raise his fist, the entire team linked arms during the anthem. The players released a statement saying they “decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity.” The full statement reads:
“After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the National Anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity. It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone’s opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11. It’s our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed. Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community.”
Aside from Peters’ gesture, there were no other reports of NFL players making any kind of protest or statement during the first group of games that kicked off on Sunday afternoon. The Seattle Seahawks have said they are planning to lock arms before Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, which kicks off at 4 p.m. ET. “As a team we have chosen to stand and interlock arms in unity. We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to assure the riches of freedom and the security of justice for all people. Progress can and will be made only if we stand together,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said in a video posted on his Twitter account on Friday.