Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson took a knee Sunday for the national anthem prior to their game against the Tennessee Titans. Their act of civil disobedience is the first highly visible player protest in the 2018 NFL season.
The man who launched the wave of player protests in 2016 is weighing in. Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and current Nike spokesman, praised Stills and Wilson in a tweet on Sunday.
“My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed!” the tweet said. “They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated.”
My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed! They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward!
“Love is at the root of our resistance!”✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/2kSsX4s7EU
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 9, 2018
President Donald Trump has been perhaps the loudest critic of Kaepernick and the protests he inspired. Trump reiterated his feelings before kickoff Sunday, even attempting to connect the act of kneeling for the anthem to the NFL’s television ratings.
“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison,” the president tweeted, asking if ratings would improve “if the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem.”
Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
Just another week in the NFL talking about Anthem protests. Enough is enough, let’s get back to focusing on the game.