“As a team, we came together, talked to Mrs. Ford, the owners, and we understand the issues, for the most part, generally,” running back Ameer Abdullah said. “Me personally, I definitely want to be an aid in growing the social awareness in this country, that it is a race problem in this country.
“We do dance around the topic a lot and Mrs. Ford has come forward and said that as long as we compromise as a team and unify and make a unified demonstration, she’ll back us financially. So I’m definitely going to hold her to her word.”
NFL players protested en masse last week by taking a knee during the national anthem in a show of defiance against President Donald Trump’s criticisms of players and the league. Trump, in a series of escalating statements beginning Sept. 22, had demanded that swift punishment be given to those who refuse to stand during the national anthem – a gesture that began last season with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling for what he said was a protest against racial injustice.
Prior to the Falcons game on Sept. 24, no Detroit Lions players had taken part in protests during the national anthem over the past year, team officials said. Hours before that game, team president Rod Wood said the Lions’ top management would support anyone who might feel the urge to protest.
“She just asked us not to take the knee and basically told us – not basically, she told us she would back and support financially as well as put her name on whatever issues that we wanted to try to attack,” Washington said. “But as far as the kneeling, she just I guess felt like there was better ways to get the point across. And at this point, people know what we’re kneeling for so now trying to take that next step in the plan of action to foster change is, that’s the next part and that’s the part she’s willing to get behind.”