On Sunday, 32 Denver Broncos knelt during the national anthem before their game against the Buffalo Bills.
Of those standing, some raised a fist in the air. Others placed a hand on the shoulder of a kneeling teammate.
When they host the Oakland Raiders this coming Sunday, all the Broncos will be standing, according to a statement released by the players on Thursday.
A message from our players: pic.twitter.com/eQs3z7OcqV
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 28, 2017
Sunday and Monday saw over 200 players demonstrate during the anthem, following President Donald Trump’s calling for “son of a bitch” kneeling players to be fired.
“We had a meeting yesterday after practice and we decided to stand as a team,” said head coach Vance Joseph of the decision to stand this coming Sunday, according to NFL.com. “But they wanted a statement just stating what they were doing last Saturday and what we’re doing as a team moving forward. I think the statement speaks to their initial intent on what they wanted to get accomplished in the past and on Sunday. So I’m proud of the guys. Moving forward it’s about our team playing football, and that’s what it’s really about.”
Cornerback Chris Harris told reporters the team’s leadership council had put the decision to a vote, and not every member of the team was happy with the outcome.
“We just have a leadership council meeting, and not everybody wanted to do it,” Harris said. “But, I mean, majority rules and we just came up with it to stand.
“It was a majority. You got to vote, and every time you can’t always have your way, so everybody, as a team, in that leadership, we all went with it, and everybody stands. The leaders made the choice.”
The timing is interesting, as on Tuesday owner John Elway was critical of the mass protest.
“I’m one that believes in standing for the national anthem, and I’ve always believed that,” Elway said. “I believe that this is the greatest country in the world. We are very fortunate to live here, but it’s obviously not perfect. There are a lot of things that need to be corrected, and we will continue to work on those things. I’m one that really believes in standing for the flag. I understand the players and the way they felt from the comments that were made earlier in the week. They felt that they had to go down and kneel and that’s up to them. Hopefully as we go forward we can start concentrating on football a little bit more. Take politics out of football. but I think that last week was a good show of unity by the NFL and hopefully this week we can move forward.”
A day later, Broncos players convened to discuss what they’d do as a team this coming Sunday.