Only a handful of NFL players, far fewer than in recent weeks, protested during the national anthem before Sunday’s early games as the league celebrated Veterans Day weekend by honoring the military.
The NFL Players Association had asked all players to observe a two-minute moment of silence before games to honor veterans.
Even players who have been protesting most of the season stood for the anthem this week, including the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who stood before Thursday night’s game. Titans receiver Rishard Matthews walked onto the field holding hands with soldiers and stood with teammates for the anthem for the first time since President Donald Trump criticized players for protesting.
After raising his fist last week during the anthem, Lions running back Ameer Abdullah did not do so this week, instead linking arms with teammates again.
The number of 49ers kneeling during the anthem dropped from four to two on Sunday as safety Eric Reid and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin knelt in protest of racial inequality in the country. Wide receiver Louis Murphy held up his right fist during the anthem in his first game since re-signing with the team this week.
In other games Sunday, Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon continued to kneel during the anthem and inactive Rams linebacker Robert Quinn put his right fist in the air. Punter Johnny Hekker put his arm around Quinn as a show of support, as usual.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protest movement last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that team owners colluded against him because of the protests — aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other issues.\
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