If you thought Rodney Anderson was going to be the only one protesting during the national anthem for the Cincinnati Bengals this year, you haven’t been paying attention.
While the NFL will display the phrases “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us” under the goal posts for Week 1, several Bengals players will be choosing their own form of protest during the anthem, be it kneeling, standing, or staying in the locker room. This was learned by Elise Jesse, formerly of WLWT.
I’ve had some interesting conversations over the last few days... Multiple people inside PBS say some players will stand, kneel, or stay in locker room during the national anthem on Sunday.— Elise Jesse (@EliseJesseTV) September 9, 2020
Seems they have more freedom to make that choice, a different vibe from 2017 in GB.
Earlier in the Summer, when Jesse was still covering the team, she had learned from former Bengals safety George Iloka that players were discouraged to protest by team owner and president Mike Brown back in 2017. Brown seemed to open his mind on the subject last month when Trey Hopkins and others talked to him about racial injustices and what the organization can do to help.
This bit of news certainly validates that, though it’s not as if Brown and the Bengals are ahead of the curve here.
Promoting peaceful protests and the messages of the Black Lives Matter movement has gone from tendentious to almost standard business in sports. After seeing what the MLB and NBA have done to support its players, it would be more shocking if NFL owners refused to condone such actions from its talent base.
Even the Dallas Cowboys have given their players permission to protest. Back in 2017, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that any player “disrespecting the flag” would be benched and that the protests were damaging the NFL. A lot can be learned and therefore change in three years’ time.
Dallas Cowboys player says officials have given team "green light" to protest national anthem. https://t.co/LVdpChgsdf— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 7, 2020
Whatever Bengals players chose to do during the anthem is their decision. It’s an example of what freedom is all about. For the Bengals to finally acknowledge that is good to hear, no matter how late it’s come.