NFL protests: What are players doing?

Have these players been taking the high road or just showing their opposition to one of the most divisive sporting movements?

American football is making history as National Football League players have chosen to kneel during the national anthem, in silent protest of police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Here are five key things to know about the protests.

What are players doing?

Twenty players — both on the losing Los Angeles Chargers team, and the victorious Kansas City Chiefs — all kneeled while the anthem was played before each team’s Saturday National Football League games. While many of the crowd booed, it was the smallest number of players taking part since the protests began two months ago.

Why are players doing it?

Protestors believe the issue of racism in America goes beyond minorities and affects their own way of life. Donald Trump has tweeted that the behavior of the protest-decrying NFL players is an insult to the United States and, more controversially, an attack on military and police officers.

However, the Cleveland Browns’ Christian Kirksey said Tuesday that any involvement with Donald Trump is not the reason for protesting.

“I’ve never in my life really looked up to Trump, ever. I really don’t care for him in any way,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of friends that are in the military. I’ve got a lot of people that are in the National Guard that pay their hearts and keep their country safe. I want to have respect for them.”

“It was never the intention of us to disrespect the flag. We respect our military. We respect our country and all of the freedoms that we have. If you look at it and scratch your head and you go, ‘Why are we kneeling?’ It’s because of the issues of police brutality, racial injustices in our country.”

Who’s behind the movement?

The protests originated on the sidelines of a 2016 NFL game, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to stop standing during the national anthem. Kaepernick started the movement with the goal of highlighting racial inequality and police brutality.

Almost 200 players have since joined him, either by kneeling, sitting or raising a fist during the national anthem. Both the National Football League and Major League Baseball teams in several U.S. cities have signed team captains to headlining pre-game displays of unity and respect.

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