NFL Dolphins Kneel During National Anthem of Regular Season Open

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(Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett did take a seat on the bench near the end of the song.) Even so, President Donald Trump weighed in on the protests after the ratings for the game were down from previous year.

The protests for social justice and against racial inequality, started by former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, continued for a third consecutive season.

No players protested during the national anthem before the Patriots faced the Houston Texans.

"Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad past year comparison", he tweeted.

That included Malcolm Jenkins, who raised his fist during the anthem last season but did not for the opener.

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Several NFL players kneel during the singing of the national anthem before games to protest police brutality and social injustice.

Receiver Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn joined Stills in protesting before Dolphins games during the exhibition season, and are expected to continue their protests at the team's season opener Sunday against Tennessee.

Kaepernick is the face of Nike's new ad campaign, which promotes the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" advertising.

Wilson, who has a contract with Nike, also applauded the company's deal with Kaepernick. The league froze a policy banning kneeling or protesting during the anthem following widespread pushback from players and fans. Before the late games, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker Brandon Marshall, and Seahawks linemen Duane Brown and Quinton Jefferson, retreated to their respective tunnels while the anthem played.

Trump jumped on the issue a year ago at a rally in Alabama, calling any player who didn't stand for the anthem a "son of a bitch" who was insulting the nation and its military. "Otherwise worse!" Trump said.

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