Miami Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson continued to kneel during the national anthem at the game against Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 8—continuing one of the most controversial protests for social justice that began three years ago.
Wilson, who reportedly knelt at every game last season, told the Sun-Sentinel that he was doing it in support of fellow NFL player Kenny Stills, who was traded to the Houston Texans about a week ago. According to a Houston Chronicle reporter, Stills also continued kneeling during his game on Sept. 9.
“I don’t feel like anything has changed. We’re protesting social injustice and police brutality,” Wilson told the newspaper. “Things haven’t changed since last year so we’ll continue to protest.”
Wilson, Stills, and Eric Reid were some of the first players to follow former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead. Kaepernick began the kneeling during the Star-Spangled Banner back in 2016 in order to protest against perceived racism and discrimination by law enforcement toward African Americans. Kaepernick’s protest was criticized by many as misdirected and disrespectful of the country as a whole.
Kaepernick said at the time in an interview that he refuses to show “pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he added.
On Aug. 18, Kaepernick shared a photo of Wilson, Stills, and Reid kneeling during the national anthem while praising them in his post.
“My Brothers @E_Reid35 @KSTiLLS @iThinkIsee12 continue to fight for the people, even in the face of death threats. They have never moved past the people and continue to put their beliefs into action. Stay strong Brothers!!!” he wrote.
“Roc Nation will spearhead and advise on the selection of artists for NFL tentpole performances, including the Super Bowl, and will assist in the production and promotion of new music as well as culture- and cause-focused initiatives,” the press release said.
Jay-Z told reporters at a news conference that he thinks “we’ve moved past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable item,” when asked by a reporter, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“No, I don’t want people to stop protesting at all. Kneeling—I know we’re stuck on it because it’s a real thing—but kneeling is a form of protest. I support protest across the board. We need to bring light to the issue. I think everyone knows what the issue is—we’re done with that,” he added.
“We all know the issue now. OK, next. What are we moving next? … And I’m not minimizing that part of it because that has to happen, that’s a necessary part of the process. But now that we all know what’s going on, what are we going to do? How are we going to stop it? Because the kneeling was not about a job, it was about injustice.”
Jay-Z was subsequently criticized by Reid and Stills for his comments. Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s Aug. 18 post is widely viewed as an indirect rebuff toward the rapper’s remarks.