The Kansas City Chiefs were among those teams with a demonstration this weekend. The Chiefs entire team linked arms during the National Anthem while Marcus Peters raised his fist.
There are clearly plenty of opinions on this topic but I want to call out the opinion of Tony Dungy, who is one of the most respected people in the NFL. He was asked about the demonstrations on NBC’s Football Night in America. Dungy said when he was younger that there was a time when he did not stand.
“I really appreciated it,” Dungy said of the demonstrations across the league. “When I coached, the National Anthem was very special to me. We practiced the National Anthem during training camp. We videotaped it. I showed the rookies how it should be done. We wanted it done professionally and with pride.”
However, Dungy says he would support those players who demonstrated, including the Dolphins players who kneeled on Sunday.
“In 1968 I was a 12 year old kid,” Dungy said. “Martin Luther King had just gotten shot. Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the ‘68 Olympics with the bowed heads. There were African-Americans all over the country at that time deciding if we should stand for the National Anthem. I talked to my dad about it. My dad was a teacher. He had enlisted in the service to fight in World War II. He did that even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to ride in the front of some buses, he wouldn’t be able to teach in some white schools. But he fought for our country. When I asked him what I said I should do, he said do what you think would make the situation better.”
For the Chiefs part, several players after the game indicated that the Chiefs as a team planned to have meetings with community leaders in order to take a step forward while Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers have collectively pledged $2 million to area groups.