The NFL continues to see mixed responses for the National Anthem.
Ever since Colin Kaepernick's initial defiance in the face of tradition and refusing to stand while the U.S. National Anthem played before a pre-season game more than a year ago, the morality of one's actions during the playing or singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" before NFL games has come under increased scrutiny. Owners are speaking out and members of law enforcement organizations and the military weighing in on the issue as well. With the opening week of the NFL in full swing today (September 10th), the league continues to see both extremes when it comes to the National Anthem response.
On the positive side, at least from the NFL's perspective, you have the Cleveland Browns. They were criticized earlier this month when several players did not stand during the Anthem, with Kaylee Remington of Cleveland.com reporting that the Cleveland police union refused to hold flag prior to the Cleveland Browns' opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. "It's just ignorant for someone to do that," Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis said. "It just defies logic to me. The fact that management was aware of what they planned on doing, that's as offensive as it can get." Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk added that the Browns were going to show a pre-produced video during the pregame ceremonies. You can view that below.
That attitude seems to have worked, with Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal saying that many Cleveland players "locked arms with each other and with first responders" and were all standing during"The Star Spangled Banner."
Another show of unity came in Houston, a city that is still reeling from the damage inflicted during Hurricane Harvey. With Florida and surrounding areas getting hit hard with Hurricane Irma as well, a massive American flag was stretched the length of the football field, with no sitting incidents being reported their either. JJ Watt also got a hero's welcome from fans during the pre-game introductions.
However, a dark cloud was cast over the Oakland Raiders pre-game festivities, when Marshawn Lynch chose once again to sit during the National Anthem. A candid photograph of the moment was tweeted out by the official Sportscenter account.