Two of the NFL’s most recognizable players have taken part in national anthem protests before the game between the two squads on Sunday.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt are facing off on the field on Sunday, but before the game action began, the two players ignored their competitive differences to show their solidarity with teammates.
That solidarity that Brady displayed was a physical reinforcement of a post on his official Facebook page earlier on Sunday. It’s also a demonstration of support for Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, who released a statement about comments made by Donald Trump on Saturday.
Though Brady did not take a knee along with many of his Patriots teammates, he did lock arms with several fellow Patriots to show his solidarity as players for the same franchise.
Watt also reinforced his comments he made about anthem protests last year, saying he had no problem with them, as he stood united with his Texans brethren before they took the field to try to give the Patriots their second home loss of the season.
Like Kraft, Texans owner Bob McNair released a statement on Trump’s comments.
As these demonstrations continue throughout the day, to culminate in protest by the Raiders offensive line prior to and a special commercial produced by the NFL during the Sunday Night Football contest, individual players and groups of players have expressed their sentiments in a number of ways. The central theme to most of the protests seems to be locker room and league unity.
While fans may receive the protests in a myriad of ways and have their own individual thoughts, the players are doing what they have decided is best given the unique circumstances. For even players with the high level of scrutiny that Brady and Watt face, taking no action wasn’t an option.