During the Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns season-opener Sunday, all but two Ravens players stood for the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” while most sat or took a knee during the national anthem.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is sometimes referred to as the “black national anthem.”
The Browns, meanwhile, returned to the locker room during the playing of the songs.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Ravens stated that they took a knee or sat on the bench during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” for social justice reasons.
“We respect and support our players’ right to protest peacefully,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a news release. “This was a demonstration for justice and equality for all Americans. These are core values we can all support.”
The Ravens also posted photos on Twitter of various players wearing gear with social justice or Black Lives Matter messages.
Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell attempted to explain why many players took a knee.
“A lot of players on this team are really passionate about the community, about our backgrounds and where we come from,” said Campbell post-game, according to the Sun. “I think most of the guys wanted to protest against the injustices in our community. … This is just an opportunity for us to use this platform to try to effect change in the communities.”
According to a USA Today report, the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Arizona Cardinals remained off the field during the national anthem.
Some players for the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and Minnesota Vikings took a knee during the anthem, as did Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich.
The Dolphins said they would not be on the field for either the national anthem or “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “We’ll just stay inside.”
Jared Goff #16, Cooper Kupp #10, and Josh Reynolds #11 of the Los Angeles Rams stand as their teammates kneel during the national anthem before their game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on Sept. 13, 2020. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions players kneel during the national anthem before the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, on Sept. 13, 2020. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
The New England Patriots stood for the national anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” some Washington Football Team players stood but some raised fists, and the Las Vegas Raiders stood for the national anthem, Sporting News reported. All New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers players stood for both songs, except for Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. All Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals players stood and locked arms during both songs.
Both the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams were on the field for the national anthem. Several Los Angeles players took knees. Dallas’s Dontari Poe was the only one to take a knee, according to Sporting News.
Last week, during the first game of the NFL season between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, the players were booed by some in the crowd while social justice and Black Lives Matter messages were displayed in the stadium.
The Houston Texans also stayed in the locker room for the anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”