The NFL national anthem protests continued on Sunday, Oct. 15. While the New Orleans Saints did not kneel during the “Star Spangled Banner” this time, instead, they chose an even more contentious time slot to protest.
Just before the kickoff at the Saints versus the Detroit Lions game, and even before the presentation of the American flag, several Saints players took a knee during a moment of silence for a murdered police officer named Marcus McNeil, the Independent Journal Review reported.
McNeil was a father of two who had been slain while on duty, only two days before the Sunday game.
Fans in the stadium were not happy, as boos rang out during the moment of silence—ruining the tribute for the fallen officer. Andrew Doak, a sports anchor, and reporter for WWL-TV posted a video of the booing at the time.
The crowd can be heard cheering after players chose to stand up later, in the video posted on Oct. 15. below.
— Andrew Doak (@AndrewDoak_WWL) October 15, 2017
McNeil’s nephew said that he “loved every minute” he spent with the police department. “It was almost like he felt like a superhero,” he said. “He wanted to go out and save the city. He truly loved his job,” the Times Picayune reported.
McNeil’s police partner, Denzel Millon, posted an emotional farewell on Facebook.
“My partner Marcus McNeil for two years… I thank you for all the memories we’ve accumulated,” Millon wrote. “I’m going to miss you Dud.”
According to the Independent Journal Review, the New Orleans Police department is still investigating the murder. The suspect was involved in a shooting battle with the police and eventually surrendered.
Fans who were outraged at the timing of the kneeling took to social media to express their reactions.
@Saints You should be ashamed of yourselves! How dare your players kneel during a tribute to a MURDERED officer! Black lives only matter when it suits you, human garbage, trash bags! https://t.co/v1Rfddwg5i
— Deplorablefor#45 (@vilevillainess) October 15, 2017
You’re nothing but ignorant thugs. Taking a knee during a tribute to a slain NOPD Officer. #hopeyouchoke
— Clariece815 (@clariecetally) October 15, 2017
— Kevin Coleman (@77kdpc) October 15, 2017
Shame some of the Saints decided to take a knee when the officer was honored at their game today.
— FreedomSeeker Wayne (@Libertyhound1) October 15, 2017