It's 9/11 today, and no one is going to let you forget that. Moreover, Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand during the national anthem to protest social injustice—and no one's going to let you forget that either. And now, with both the NFL's opening Sunday and 9/11 converging on the same day, it has become a particularly poignant moment for the symbol of the American flag. This was by no means lost on Marcus Peters and the Kansas City Chiefs today.
Before today's kickoff, during the national anthem, the Chiefs decided to make their own gesture by linking arms during the Star Spangled Banner. The team released a statement before the game, saying,
"After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the national anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity. It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone's opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11. It's our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed. Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community."
While the team's PR has muted down any decisive political statement on racial injustice, Peters went the extra mile by raising his fist up in the air. The gesture, which was iconically used by Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith in 1968, has come to represent black power, and solidarity with oppressed peoples.
With the Seahawks saying that they'd also lock arms during the anthem for their game later today, and Kaepernick and the 49ers game kicking off later tonight, the pre-game has almost set a bigger stage than the game itself. Are you ready for some backlash?