The National Football League’s Week 2 of its schedule again saw teams staying off the field when the national anthem was played, continuing the pattern seen in last week’s openers. However, several teams appeared to be surprised and caught on the field when the song unexpectedly started playing.
The New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins all were out of sight during the Star-Spangled Banner. The San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions were present during the song, with some players taking a knee or raising a fist.
Some of the team plans seemed more haphazard than Week One’s careful coordination. The Tennessee Titans were in the middle of pre-game warmups when the song started, causing the team to rush to the sidelines.
Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans, safety Kenny Vaccaro, and defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney took a knee, while defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons held his right fist in the air. Titans left guard Rodger Saffold knelt with center Ben Jones with his right hand on Saffold’s back. Right guard Nate Davis took a knee, as right tackle Dennis Kelly’s rested his left hand on Davis’ right shoulder.
Similarly, the Detroit Lions were caught heading toward their locker room when the anthem started. About 20 of the Lions turned and faced the flag from their end zone, with several kneeling.
The Philadelphia Eagles were out on the field during the national anthem, reversing last week’s decision to stay in the locker room during the song. The team remained on the sideline, with cornerback Darius Slay and safety Rodney McLeod kneeling and defensive tackle Malik Jackson and running back Miles Sanders raising fists. Several members of the Los Angeles Rams also kneeled.
In Dallas, defensive tackle Dontari Poe kneeled again, the lone member of the team to do so. Dallas owner Jerry Jones has expressed misgivings in the past about the practice, although his attitude has softened in the last few months. The live crowd in Dallas, where 50 percent capacity in the 80,000 seat venue is permitted, had no reaction to Poe’s protest.