Two players kneel during anthem, Colin Kaepernick tweets to thank them


Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both took a knee during the national anthem in protest of social injustice and police brutality before their season opener against the Tennessee Titans in Miami on Sunday. "Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade", he tweeted.

Stills and Wilson became the first players to protest during the anthem in the 2018 regular season, continuing a movement then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016.

Now, the man who launched the wave of player protests in 2016 is weighing in.

Kaepernick is the most visible face among National Football League players who have been using the anthem over the past two years to protest against social injustice and police brutality. They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated.

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The NFL has walked back its previously-implemented policy that would have required players to either stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, and some players capitalized on the opportunity to continue with the political demonstrations on Sunday.

Kaepernick is the face of Nike's new ad campaign, which promotes the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" advertising. But the NFLPA remains fundamentally opposed to the concept of players being fined or disciplined for exercising peaceful protest and protected free speech, or agreeing to regulations for kneeling or sitting.

"I think theres a huge need for us to turn the attention to not only the issues, but what players are actually doing in their communities to promote change", he said. "We're trying to move past the rhetoric of what's right or what's wrong in terms of the anthem, and really focus on the systematic issues that are plaguing our communities".