NFL players kneel, raise fists or sit out National Anthem

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The NFL's regular season is a month away, but players are already defying the league's new policy banning peaceful protests during the national anthem.

Some players held their fists in the air, while others chose to kneel, despite the controversy surrounding the action.

A pair of Miami Dolphins football players took a knee during the national anthem before the team's preseason opener on Thursday.

The Giants opened their preseason at home against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, and Big Blue defensive lineman A.J. Francis raised his fist at the end of the anthem, NJ.com reported. The Daily News said Eagles captain Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De'Vante Bausby raised their fists.

The NFL's 32 team owners unanimously approved a new policy this offseason to require players to stand respectfully during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner", but the NFLPA appealed the rule. Eagles defensive end Chris Long had his arm around Jenkins in a show of solidarity.

Michael Bennett of the Eagles did not participate in the anthem and instead walked out of the tunnel and toward the bench while the anthem was sung, Bowen reported.

It sparked a national discussion about patriotism, and drew sharp vitriol from President Trump, who condemned those who kneeled as disrespectful to America.

The section said fines or suspensions could potentially be handed out to players who kneel during the anthem. Individual teams would be responsible for disciplining any demonstrators.

The new policy was met with a lot of disdain from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), who stated that they were not consulted prior to the NFL's decision being publicized.

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