Fans Divided on Player Demonstrations
The Times sent several reporters to N.F.L. games on Sunday to ask fans what they thought of the president’s criticisms and the players’ protests. Perhaps surprising to no one, all sides of the debate still have adherents, even if dozens of prominent athletes and many N.F.L. owners — a deeply conservative group of businessmen — seem to agree on some basic things today.
■ Greg Zaccaria, 61, from White Plains, N.Y., a Jets season ticket holder since 1978. He was in the MetLife Stadium parking before the Jets played the Dolphins:
“I’m a Republican who voted for him but I think this is a battle he doesn’t need to get into,” he said about President Trump.
Asked his opinion of the protests, Zaccaria said: “I don’t support it. I understand what they’re trying to get at, I just think there are better ways of expressing yourself. I feel like if the media didn’t make a big deal of it – I remember that for years and years they didn’t show the anthem – and now all of a sudden this is an issue. “I feel like if you just let these guys do their thing and we could all move on.” — Bill Pennington
■ Twin brothers Alex and Jackson Hatch, 12, from Loves Park, Ill., were outside Ford Field in Detroit before the Lions played the Falcons:
“I will respect the players more if they do kneel, because they are doing what they feel is right to do,” Alex said. “I know about what Colin Kaepernick is doing, he started kneeling a long time ago. Maybe the others are doing it to be with him too.”
“I do not think it is a bad thing for people to kneel, they are showing what their rights are,” Jackson said. “It might look weird or something during the national anthem but that should be O.K.” — Joanne Gerstner
Kaepernick Offers a Subtle Reminder of How This All Started
As President Trump, the N.F.L. and the nation waged a fierce debate Sunday about the appropriate nature of national anthem protests, the man who started that debate, Colin Kaepernick, was nowhere in sight.
Instead, Kaepernick spent part of his day retweeting messages about the protests and photos of players who warmed up for their games in “#IMWITHKAP” T-shirts. But he also highlighted one that raised a point largely absent in this weekend’s discussion: that Kaepernick’s protests were never about President Trump, but merely an effort to raise the issue of racial injustice.