No NFL player has ever taken a knee during the national anthem in protest during the Super Bowl, so will this be the year it finally happens?
The protest that started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who sat out during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities — has since spread across the NFL, with many players joining in with various forms of protest. The league-wide protest has been a major focus in the lead-up to Super Bowl LIII, with a number of performers publicly backing out of the Super Bowl Halftime Show out of respect to Kaepernick, joining him in his protest.
There has also been plenty of speculation about whether any of the players on the Los Angeles Rams or New England Patriots would take a knee in protest during the national anthem before Super Bowl LIII.
“My colleagues Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are performing during the halftime show at the Super-bowl this coming Sunday, I call upon them to ‘take a knee’ on stage in full sight,” he wrote.
It was not clear if they — or any NFL players — were planning any form of protest during the national anthem. The Los Angeles Rams did have one player who was a regular protester — defensive end Robert Quinn — but he was traded before the start of the 2018 season.
It would not seem likely for any New England Patriots players to take a knee during the national anthem before the Super Bowl. The team is now in its third straight Super Bowl since the protest started, and no players took part in the protest during the last two Super Bowls. The team’s fan base has also been fairly averse to these protests, even booing players who took a knee during the anthem back in September 2017, following critical remarks from President Donald Trump about protesting players.
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) September 24, 2017
The protests have since spread beyond the NFL to other sports and even to some high school teams, with players taking a knee or sometimes remaining in the locker room during the national anthem in protest.
A small all-black high school football team has started kneeling during the national anthem at their games. They say they are protesting against police brutality — both what they see on social media and what they've faced in their lives. https://t.co/tZqtzbEEFI
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 3, 2019
No NFL players from either the Rams or Patriots have publicly discussed plans to take a knee during the national anthem during the Super Bowl, so the chances seem remote that fans will see any protest before the game.