The Miami Dolphins have decided to stay inside during both the national anthem and “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” during the 2020 NFL season, issuing a message Thursday demanding action rather than symbolic gestures in the fight against social and racial injustice and police brutality.
“Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” traditionally known as the Black national anthem, is expected to be performed live or played before every Week 1 NFL game, among other measures by the league to recognize victims of police brutality, a source familiar with the league’s discussions previously told The Undefeated.
“This attempt to unify only creates more divide. So we’ll skip this song and dance, and as a team we’ll stay inside,” several Dolphins players combined to say in a 2-minute, 17-second video issued Thursday. “We need changed hearts, not just a response to pressure. Enough, no more fluff and empty gestures. We need owners with influence and pockets bigger than ours to call up officials and flex political power.”
BREAKING NEWS: The@MiamiDolphins players will stay inside for both national anthems. They express their discontentment with what they call “fluff and empty gestures” by the @NFL pic.twitter.com/ghUktHhPt9
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) September 10, 2020
In the video, several Dolphins players — both Black and white — speak about a desire for prison reform, justice against police brutality, a demand for owners to get actively involved in helping create change, an acknowledgment of the millions of dollars exchanged in the NFL’s decision to start playing the national anthem before games, and a desire to use their voice to create change rather than just shutting up and playing.
“We don’t need another publicity parade,” veteran Bobby McCain said. “If you speak up for change, I’ll shut up and play.”
Linebacker Elandon Roberts added: “So if my dad was a soldier but the cops killed my brother, do I stand for one anthem and kneel for the other?”
At the end of the video, Dolphins coach Brian Flores appeared supporting his players and providing a lingering message: “Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions. We’ll just stay inside.”