Free-agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first athlete that started to protest the injustices within the United States by taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem last year.
Kaepernick actually sat on the bench during his first protest, but after talking with Nate Boyer, who's a former Green Baret, he decided it was more respectful to take a knee.
Well, since then, numerous athletes have joined in by taking a knee.
San Francisco 49ers' safety Eric Reid
One of the first players to join Kaepernick was his former teammate with the 49ers, safety Eric Reid.
Reid took a knee prior to a preseason game in 2016 in order to show his support for Kaepernick while also protesting the injustices within the United States.
While Kaepernick was released by the 49ers this past offseason, the 25-year-old Reid remains on the team after they drafted him in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Seattle Reign FC & USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe
NFL players aren't the only athletes that have taken a knee during the National Anthem.
Seattle Reign FC and United States Women's National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe took a knee prior to a match in October 2016. She also locked arms with her teammates in a display of unity.
"I felt like it was the right thing to do. I think it was the right time to do that," Rapinoe said.
Denver Broncos' linebacker Brandon Marshall
During the 2016 regular season opener for the Denver Broncos, linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee during the National Anthem.
"I’m not against the military, I’m not against the police or America,” Marshall said after the game. "I’m against social injustice."
Marshall's comments last year hold true today. Athletes aren't kneeling to disrespect the United States or the military, but rather to bring awareness to social injustices such as racism and police brutality.
Miami Dolphins' wide receiver Kenny Stills
Dolphins' wide receiver Kenny Stills took a knee alongside his teammates, running back Arian Foster, lineman Michael Thomas and linebacker Jelani Jenkins in 2016.
Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross was in support of his players using their freedom of speech.
"I don't think there was any lack of respect. Everyone in this team and whole organization respects the flag and what it stands for. These guys are making a conversation about something that's very important topic in this country. I'm 100 percent in support of them," Ross said.
The first Major League Baseball player to take a knee during the National Anthem, happened just this past weekend when Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell decided to do so prior to this past Sunday's game against the Texas Rangers.
Maxwell posted a tweet to voice his thoughts on the injustices within our country.
Inequality is being displayed bigger than ever right now as our president shows that freeedom of protest and speech is not allowed..— Bruce T Maxwell (@bruu_truu13) September 23, 2017
The A's released a statement.
While NFL fans have booed players for protesting, A's fans actually cheered Maxwell.
On Saturday, Bruce Maxwell took a knee in protest.— SB Nation MLB (@SBNationMLB) September 26, 2017
On Monday, he got a standing ovation. pic.twitter.com/ua8vrOXqdy
Aside from kneeling, numerous athletes have also decided to raise their fists during the anthem as well.
It looked as if the anthem protests were dying down, with only 10 NFL players kneeling during the NFL's week two slate of games. But President Donald Trump lit a spark this past weekend during a campaign rally in Alabama, where he said that NFL owners should fire any players that kneel during the anthem.
In response to Trump, some NFL teams didn't even leave their locker rooms to stand on the field for the anthem. While scores of players decided enough was enough and knelt during the anthem.
It will be interesting to see what happens as the NFL season rolls on as to whether or not the protests die down anytime soon.
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