About 50 people gathered at the midtown Manhattan office building for a rally organized by National Action Network, a civil rights nonprofit.
Kirsten John Foy, the group’s northeast regional director, was the first of 10 speakers who took turns during the 40-minute demonstration to criticize NFL team owners and President Donald Trump.
”Our demand is that the NFL reverse that immoral and unconstitutional decision,” Foy said.
NFL owners voted Wednesday to require players to stand for the national anthem or stay in the locker room. Teams will be fined if players don’t stand. Some players have been kneeling during the playing of ”The Star-Spangled Banner” before games the last two seasons to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest in 2016. He did not play last season after being unsigned as a free agent. He is suing the NFL and team owners for colluding to keep him out of the league.
National Action Network spokesman Alex Butcher-Nesbitt said the group planned to hold similar demonstrations around the country, including Detroit and Los Angeles.
The Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, said if Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford and the team adhere to the anthem policy Joel Iyiegbuniwe Jersey Bears , ”then they are doing nothing more than … standing with racism.”
In New York, Foy was joined by progressive talk radio host Mark Thompson, who wore a long shirt with a depiction of Kaepernick in his 49ers uniform taking a knee, and city councilman Jumaane Williams, who brought a Kaepernick No. 7 jersey to display after he spoke and wore a shirt with the slogan (hash)IMWITHKAP across the front.
”I’m proud because I’m going to be on the right side of history,” Williams said. ”I’m going to be standing and kneeling with Colin Kaepernick.”
Several speakers said supporters of Kaepernick and the protesting players should stop watching NFL games and no longer patronize companies that sponsor the league.
”You can’t inundate us with tens of millions of dollars in commercial ads and then strip the people that generate your money and your profits of their first amendment rights,” Foy said. ”And if they choose to protest, they’ve got to stay in the locker room. So the locker room is the new slave shanty.”
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers would welcome the return of tight end Antonio Gates following the serious knee injury sustained by Hunter Henry last week.
Rivers endorsed the idea of re-signing Gates DJ Moore Jersey Panthers , who is a free agent after playing all 15 seasons of his record-setting career for the Chargers, but said the decision would be up to general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Anthony Lynn.
”I would always be excited if he walked back in the door, obviously. Certainly, he would get my vote,” Rivers said Tuesday.
Gates would be a logical fit to help replace Henry, who is expected to miss the upcoming season because of a torn ACL he sustained in practice. Henry had emerged as a top target for Rivers over his first two seasons with 81 receptions for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns, contributing to the team’s decision not to bring back Gates.
Gates caught 87 of his 114 touchdown receptions from Rivers Mitchell Trubisky Jersey , the second-most by a quarterback-receiver combination in NFL history behind the 112 touchdown passes Peyton Manning threw to Marvin Harrison for Indianapolis. Gates has the most touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history to go along with his franchise-record 927 receptions and 11,508 yards receiving.
The absence of Henry leaves Virgil Green as the only tight end currently on the roster that has caught a pass in an NFL game. Behind Green, who signed with the Chargers as a free agent from Denver in April, are second-year players Sean Culkin and Braedon Bowman and rookies Cole Hunt and Ben Johnson.
”It will look different without Hunter in there, but thankfully we have another 10 practices or so, counting the mini-camp, to continue to shape the offense for who we’re going to be,” Rivers said.
Rivers had been in contact with Gates since Henry tore his ACL Shaquem Griffin Youth Jersey , declining to discuss the specifics of their conversations.
”If something were to happen down the road, he wouldn’t have wanted it to come that way with Hunter’s absence,” Rivers said.