National Football League players continued to make silent social statements during the United States national anthem on Sunday, while a Washington Redskins receiver let his footwear do the talking.
DeSean Jackson brought attention to what he described as the “senseless killings of both citizens and police” by wearing custom-made cleats during Washington’s game at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
Jackson wore white-and-blue cleats painted with yellow police caution tape for the national anthem but changed before the game.
“Today is the start of my attempts to be part of a solution and start dialogue about the senseless killings of both citizens and police,” Jackson said in a statement, adding that he did not consider his action to be a protest.
“I have chosen to wear these cleats in pre-game today to use my platform as a pro athlete to add to this discussion.
“This isn’t meant to be any kind of protest against the good men and women in law enforcement in this country. I just want to express my concern in a peaceful and productive way about issues that are currently impacting our country.”
The Redskins had no objection to Jackson’s shoes.
“We stand in support of both DeSean and the law enforcement community,” the team said.
Elsewhere, the Seattle Seahawks’ players continued their demonstration of unity by linking arms during the national anthem before their game at the New York Jets.
Meanwhile, at least half a dozen other players made a silent statement during the anthem, including Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith of the Oakland Raiders.
For the second straight week they raised their right fists in scenes reminiscent of sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos during the 200 meters medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started what has become a controversy when he began the gestures against injustice and police brutality by refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during pre-season games.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)