Adrian Peterson was in his final season with the Vikings in 2016 when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality and social injustice. Peterson and his teammates did not follow Kaepernick’s lead.
That is going to change — at least for Peterson. The veteran running back told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to bring back kneeling this coming season and that he does not plan on being the only player doing so. This comes after protests throughout the United States following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among others.
“Just four years ago, you’re seeing Kaepernick taking a knee, and now we’re all getting ready to take a knee together going into this season, without a doubt,” Peterson told the Chronicle.
There was outrage from many in the country, including President Trump, when Kaepernick and then others began taking a knee. That season proved to be Kaepernick’s last in the NFL as no team was (or has been) willing to sign him after he opted out of his contract.
In 2018, the NFL created a policy that stated players and NFL personnel had to stand during the anthem or their team could be fined. Players also were given the option of staying in the locker room, but the league had made its feelings clear.
One would think those feelings have changed with what has gone on in this country in recent months. A 70-second video that was led by Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, and featured several NFL superstars, was posted last week and called on the league to condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People.
“A message on behalf of the nfl” pic.twitter.com/iilDpnZfyV
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 5, 2020
Last Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded with an 80-second video in which he issued an apology from the league for not listening to players earlier and encouraged all to speak out and peacefully protest. “We the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter,” Goodell said.
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Goodell did not broach the topic of players kneeling during the anthem, but Trump did with a tweet on Sunday.
Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2020
Considering Goodell’s message to the players, it would appear the NFL has no choice but to allow players to kneel during the anthem, if that’s what they elect to do. And, judging from Peterson’s words, it appears that is definitely part of their plan.