Few NFL pre-game protests on opening Sunday

Report NFL won’t implement new national anthem policy this season allowing protests to continue

Stand for the national anthem, or don't, the NFL will no longer care this season. On Sunday, Trump said National Football League ratings could decline further if players do not stand for the anthem and if television networks do not broadcast the pregame ceremony.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the protests Sunday morning.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL is not expected to implement a new policy on the national anthem this season, no matter how many meetings and conversations occur regarding the topic. In June, the Dolphins were found to have opened up the possibility for a player to receive a four-game suspension if they protested during the anthem.

Miami Dolphins' players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both made a decision to take a knee during the national anthem of the first Sunday football game of the regular season.

Players began sitting or kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest racial inequality, police brutality and other issues.

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President Donald Trump pointed to historically low television ratings for the National Football League as protests during the US national anthem continued ahead of the first Sunday games of the season.

Trump jumped on the issue a year ago at a rally in Alabama, calling any player who didn't stand for the anthem a "son of a bitch" who was insulting the nation and its military. "They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated", Kaepernick tweeted. Kaepernick, the face of a new marketing campaign by Nike, thanked the players for "their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed!"

The NFL unilaterally passed a policy requiring players to stand at attention for the anthem or to stay in the locker room or in the tunnel under the stands. "Otherwise worse!" Trump said. The NFL similarly remains in discussion with the players' association about the best way to respect the players' right to speak while still protecting the NFL's brand and not alienating a large chunk of the fan base.

During Thursday night's game, two players took seats toward the end of "The Star Spangled Banner", but there were no visible protests during the anthem.

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