As protests swept through the NFL during September 11 ceremonies, four Miami Dolphins players kneeled during the National Anthem before last night's game in Seattle to protest inequality and police brutality against African-Americans.
Even more remarkably in a league where top officials have all but called for riot police to respond to National Anthem protests since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement, the players received an unambiguous message of support from the team's owner, Stephen Ross.
"I don't think it was any lack of respect," Ross told reporters after the game. "These guys are making a conversation of something that's a very important topic in this country, and I'm 100 percent supportive of them."
Dolphins owner Steve Ross spoke with players before their protest, and supports their decision. pic.twitter.com/wWnqYCPWeu— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 11, 2016
The Dolphins who chose to kneel during the National Anthem were far from alone across the league yesterday. Their opponents, the Seahawks, linked arms during the Anthem as a message of solidarity with Kaepernick. Several New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs players raised their fists during the song.
Among the Dolphins, running back Arian Foster seemed to take the lead in organizing the protest. He was joined by wide receiver Kenny Stills, linebacker Jelani Jenkins, and defensive back Michael Thomas. Foster defended the move after the game.
there was a pre game speech from our president commemorating those that lost their lives on that tragic day on 9/11. we stood for that.— Feeno (@ArianFoster) September 12, 2016
don't put your hatred in our hearts. I love this country. don't let the love for a symbol overrule the love for your fellow human.— Feeno (@ArianFoster) September 12, 2016
Despite the well-reasoned responses from the players and even the team's owner, Miami was not spared the searing embrace of incredibly hot takes.
Miami Herald writer Armando Salguero wins the local prize for the most head-scratching reaction. Take it away, Armando:
As a person of faith, I can assure you Christians don't take knees on Sunday in protest but rather in praise and in petitions to their Lord.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) September 12, 2016
Damn! There's a lot to unpack in that one. None of the Dolphins mentioned faith as any part of their protest. So why bring Christianity into it? Being a good American also means being a good Christian, apparently, which also means shutting up and praying on Sundays. (When not sprinting around a field tackling people, of course, which we all know was explicitly sanctioned by God as good Sunday activity in Leviticus.)
It's also quite a take from a writer who was chastened by his editor three years ago when he unloaded on an angry reader who happened to be a Vietnam vet by accusing him of "sucking as a soldier."
New Times emailed Salguero to see if he wanted to expound on his tweet, but didn't immediately hear back.
Update 12:30 pm: Salguero emailed New Times to clarify that he was responding to Foster's comparison to Christians kneeling in church. Here's what he has to say:
I never said anyone is a bad Christian. In consecutive tweets I reported that Arian Foster was comparing the Dolphins kneeling protest to Christians kneeling in church on Sundays. And then I pointed out what a bad comparison that is because when Christians kneel in prayer they are not protesting anything but worshipping their God. Pretty clear.
Salguero wasn't the only one with an over-the-top response to the Fins, of course. None other than noted beautiful white person Kate Upton had some thoughts to share:
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Protest&speak ur mind whenever u want but during the 120secs you should support the people who protect our freedom. https://t.co/qFozwaH9Bu— Kate Upton (@KateUpton) September 11, 2016
Ross himself had the best response to that line of questioning when a reporter demanded to know whether, as a native New Yorker, he wasn't upset to see such protests on September 11.
"I don't think any in this organization, all the players included... want to show disrespect to our country, our soldiers, or anyone else," Ross said. "Today what was brought up was conversation that needs to be had, and they're doing it in their way, and I applaud it."
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted Salguero's Tweet in the headline.