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  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (left) and Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (right) both kneel during the national anthem prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium.

    Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (left) and Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (right) both kneel during the national anthem prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium. | Photo: Reuters / Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Published 9 September 2018

Kaepernick is the most visible face among NFL players who have been using the anthem over the past two years to protest against social injustice and police brutality.

Colin Kaepernick thanked on social media the first two players who knelt during the playing of the United States national anthem on the opening Sunday of the National Football League season.

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Miami Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during "The Star-Spangled Banner" and defensive end Robert Quinn raised a fist during the song ahead of the team's season opener against visiting Tennessee.

"My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed!," Kaepernick said in a Twitter post accompanied by a picture of the two players kneeling. "They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward! Love is at the root of our resistance!"

The issue has remained in the spotlight with U.S. President Donald Trump highly critical of the protesting players.

The NFL owners in May approved a rule requiring players to either stand on the field for the anthem or remain in the locker room, but the policy is on hold pending discussions with the NFL Players Association.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted a reference to U.S. television ratings for Thursday's game, which started late due to bad weather. "Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison," Trump said. "Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!"

Kaepernick is no longer in the league but remains in the headlines. He voices a new Nike commercial that was unveiled during the first game of the NFL season between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, the message of the Kaepernick commercials is: "Believe in something. Even if it costs you everything."

Nike reported a 31% sales boost during the Labor Day holiday weekend this year over last year after the advertisement debuted online.


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