Ahead of the Dolphins’ game against the New England Patriots on Sunday Sept. 18, players once again took a knee during the national anthem. Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills again used the spotlight of the biggest sport in the country to protest the treatment of African-Americans by police officers. However, Jelani Jenkins ended his protest from the week prior by standing with his teammates.
According to the Miami Herald, Jenkins said earlier this week that he would ““stand united with [his] teammates and the Miami Dolphins organization during the national anthem.” Jenkins’ decision to stand was surprising given that he recently penned an article for Time magazine called “Why I Knelt During the National Anthem—And Why It’s Time to Stand Up” in which he said the decision to kneel was about more than football, it was about equality.
There has been a lot of pushback for the players’ decision to kneel, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office union’s request that team-sponsored police escorts cease until every player on the NFL team stands for the national anthem. In what some might consider a contradictory statement, Bell argued that the right to freedom of speech is not a universal one. “I respect their right to have freedom of speech. However, in certain organizations and certain jobs you give up that right of your freedom of speech temporary while you serve that job or while you play in an NFL game,” Bell said.
Ahead of the Dolphins-Patriots game, the Dolphins organization requested that all members of their team stand for the national anthem but stopped short at making it a mandatory action. Clearly the request was heard loud and clear as the number of players who opted into the protest dwindled by one this week.