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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The sight of defensive end Chris Long putting his arm around Eagles teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the national anthem inspired Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson to make his own statement.

Jefferson raised his fist in what he called a silent, peaceful gesture protesting racial inequality before the Bills’ preseason game at Philadelphia on Thursday night.

“It gave me some courage,” Jefferson said Sunday, referring to seeing Long support Jenkins, who stood with a raised fist. “Just seeing that togetherness on their team between different races, different people, I felt like that’s all I wanted. I wanted togetherness to build awareness for that.”

It hit home for Jefferson because he and Jenkins are both members of Omega Psi Phi, a predominantly black fraternity founded at Howard University in 1911. Racial tensions spiked last week after a woman was killed during a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“It was important to me because I felt in my spirit, in my heart, that I had to take a stand for myself,” the 25-year-old Jefferson said. “I did it peacefully. I did it quietly. I didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.”

Bills coach Sean McDermott backed Jefferson after meeting with the player on Saturday and brought up what happened to his entire team before practice the next day.

“I think the key word here is respect. We respect Cam’s opinion. We respect and acknowledge what’s going on,” McDermott said. “When a player or anyone in this case takes an initiative to make a stand for something, if it’s ethical, I want them to know that I’m going to support them and we’re going to support them.”

Jefferson appreciated McDermott’s support and acknowledged he was concerned about possible ramifications, given he has no NFL experience and is competing to simply make the team.

He intends to raise his fist during the national anthem again on Saturday, when Buffalo travels to play Baltimore.

Jefferson is not surprised by the mixed response his gesture has received on social media.

“You have to take it with a grain of salt with the bad, because there’s good and evil in this world,” Jefferson said. “It’s good to see people who are supportive. At the same time, we’re raising awareness for those who are on the neutral side of things and people on the negative side of things.”

PHOTO: AP

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13 thoughts on “NFL Players Black And White Join And Support Anthem Protest

  1. Lone Wolf on said:

    To be honest I don’t know why these guys are protesting during the national anthem. Kaepernick was kneeling to protest the murdering of unarmed Black men by cops and he made that clear. Is this why the rest of these guys are kneeling, or are they just copy cats.

  2. …and to say that players that are protesting are making a spectacle of themselves, well, I find that a little disappointing from you, a Black man. Did those that marched so that you can have the right to vote making a spectacle of themselves? Were those that were hosed for fighting against Jim Crow laws making a spectacle of themselves? Were the brother on the Olympic platform with their raised fists making a spectacle of themselves? All done in the face of “angry white people.” If you are not going to do it publicly, what’s the point of doing it at all. If those people, and so many more, had not made a spectacle of themselves – – you, sir, today would not be seen, not even as a spectacle.

    • specialt757 on said:

      DARN-IT S.D. why you keep hurtin’ like that? LOL! This fool aint listening, you can talk to you’re blue in the face and he will always find a “statistic” to prove his point, even tho he made those numbers up himself. It’s so disheartening reading his comments because he swears up and down that the only solution to our issues is owning our own everything (and truth be told, I’m for owning our own businesses, no problems with it at all). How is that the answer to every problem in the black community? But keep dropping the knowledge, one day the light bulb will go off.
      And…concerning the people serving in the military, he’s probably got that just about right, half one side and half agree with the other side, color wise it’s pretty much the same. And also unfortunately, blacks should be the last people to disagree, because as you so plainly put it, had it not been for the public displays of protest and the ugliness of the retaliation, we’d still be having to take “proficiency” tests before we could vote or sit anywhere we wanted on the damn bus. What in the holy hell good would it do to not protest where no one could see it? He is making a public spectacle just by writing those long ass posts.

  3. Rest assured, Mr. Gonzales, the “billionaire” owners are not going to cut off their noses to spite their face. Not signing or re-signing Black players on a large scale across the NFL would prove financially detrimental to the owners’ pockets. Don’t think that they are not assessing this ongoing situation even as I type. There is more and more buzz about boycotting the NFL on all levels. When they see their profits start to dwindle, trust and believe, they will sing a new song.

  4. Joe Gonzales on said:

    I did not see wide spread support by white players two words mr. Bennett mister BeastMode . There was only one White player who supported mr. Bennett in Seattle . In total they were maybe for white players who hugged and supported the protesting black players. Please do not exaggerate the facts we also have eyes. There’s all that stuff trying to make it look like white people are on our side every time we struggle is a total bunch of b*******. Tell it like it is black people are on their own except for a few white people very few indeed white people that are willing to help us. If you stopped and think about it and look at the statistics eighty percent of white people supports the right of whites Confederates to display the Confederate flag and to maintain the Confederate War Heroes. You live in a dream world if you think that white people are on our side. How the hell do you know what white people think about you? 95% of black people 100% against Confederate flags and Confederate statues. The rest of America overwhelmingly supports Confederate monuments and flags as part of the Southern Pride. 80% a white people believe in maintaining aniline Confederate monuments and flags to fly over America.

  5. williaml, many members of my family served in the military. Their commitment gives Colin Kaepernick to do what he is doing. Their commitment gives you the right to voice your opinion on this thread. I do not stand for the anthem and certainly don’t place my hand on my heart. Their commitment gives me that right. If you want to not watch NFL football, that’s fine, but do it for something that matters……the NFL purposefully blackballing Mr. Kaepernick for taking a stand for that which he has a right to do. His protest is not foolish – – you are the fool.

  6. williaml on said:

    Since they want to play politics, I will Not be watching any pro football this season.
    There were many Blacks that gave their lives for this country only to return as second class citizens.
    They returned and overcame. Kaepernick has No Right to disrespect the lives sacrificed by our Black Military with hos foolish protests.
    I will only watch college and high school football.

    • Leslie on said:

      You make the mistake of assuming that you can speak for Black people who have served in the military, when in fact, there are many of US, myself included, who WHOLEHEARTEDLY support C. Kaepernick’s method of protest! People attempt to discredit the message by erroneously criticizing the method! The fact that he doesn’t stand for the anthem does NOT in any way, shape, form or fashion serve as a disrespect to those of us who have served, because whether or not you want to acknowledge it, part of the reason that we served is to ensure his rights to do EXACTLY what he, and now others are doing! So before you jump on that bandwagon, go out and actually speak to people of color who have served, and are serving, because if the people that I know are any good indication, you will find that your argument will be quickly invalidated…

      • Joe Gonzales on said:

        To your comments. every American has the right to speak their minds that we agree on. I am an African American Veteran and I do belong to the American Legion and I can tell you that there are mixed reaction approximately half and half the black veterans agree and some of the other have disagree with Kaepernick position to protest the American national anthem. What we need to discuss is what good does the kneeling down or eating bananas when the national anthem is being played? To me it can have many issues associated with it the public in general that includes white people are not very happy to see Sports and politics being mixed together. What we do need to understand that Colin Kaepernick is not a poor man and the poor black people that are struggling everyday to feed their family those are the people that I am concerned with. Millionaire football players playing for billionaire owners I do not feel sorry for. Whether it’s beast mode playing for the Raiders or mr. Bennett playing for the Seattle Seahawks raising their face really won’t have any significant effect on the black community. What really matters in the black community is that we have no power it’s all about money and power. Black economical self-determination is what is going to eradicate all the disrespect we back people are experiencing. Spike Lee is great film director and I don’t see where he should spend disproportionate amount of energy to protect the job of Colin Kaepernick who owns an excessive 17 million dollars a year love being cut by the San Francisco 49ers. Colin Kaepernick was raised as a biracial Child by white family and his African American father rejected him and so did his white teenage mother from Milwaukee who adopted him out to the rich white family in Wisconsin who took good care of mr. Colin Kaepernick. So on that note we need to keep our eyes open and not get emotional. We should be concerned about a poor brothers and sisters that are struggling everyday trying to put food on the table. The same black folks that work for rich white folks like the owner of Amazon who abuses African American workers predominantly African-American workers work for him and make him even richer. Would we need to discuss is what good does that kneeling down a heating bananas when the National anthem is being played? To me it can have many issues associated with that the public and journal that includes why people are not very happy to see sports and politics being mixed together. What we do need to understand that calling Kaepernick is not a poor man and the poor black people that are struggling everyday to feed there family those other people that I am concerned with. Millionaire football players playing for billionaire owners I do not feel sorry for. Whether it’s be some old playing for the Raiders or Mr Bennett playing for the Seattle Seahawks raging their first really want have any significant affect on the black community. Would really matters in the black community is that we have no power its all about money and power. Black economical self determination is what is going to erratic a tall the disrespect we back people experiencing. Spike Lee is a great telling director and I don’t see where he should spend this proportional them out of energy to protect the job of Collins Kaepernick her knees in excess of 17 million dollars a year while being cut by the San Francisco 49ers. Calling Kaepernick was raised as a biracial child by white family and his African American father rejected him and so did his white teenage mother from Milwaukee who adopted him out to rich white family in Wisconsin would took good care of Kaepernick. So um done note we need to keep our eyes open and not get emotional. We should be concerned about our poor brothers the sisters that the struggling everyday trying to put food on the table. The same block folks that work for rich white folks leg the owner of Amazon who abuses African American workers

      • Joe Gonzales on said:

        black veterans like myself have mixed feelings how about very few football Black players rise their fist kneel down or eat bananas during the National Anthem being played. In my Legion 2/3 of black veterans Field is the wrong way to go about it and one third supports the foot black football players. Most importantly is what are the benefits of not saluting the national anthem. For me I believe in the rights of all Americans to express themselves and to salute or not salute the flag during the national anthem. As a black man I don’t see any benefits of millionaire football players making a spectacle in front of angry white people. Eventually it does backfire where white owners are going to refuse to hire black football players they consider radicals. The other black football players that I’m more than willing to take over the jobs of black players that are going to get fired in directly associated with the national anthem. Most importantly we need as black people to establish a stronger economical base to start building our own businesses to love each other and to love being black. We need to love being black. We do not need to call each other racially charged names that is not good for us it is very demeaning. Let’s do what we can control which is building our own little businesses like lawn mowing carpentry welding Plumbing let’s do something that benefit our society economically.

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