The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans are reportedly considering remaining in the locker room for the playing of the national anthem prior to their season-opening game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Thursday.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Chiefs and Texans players have "been in talks about a joint demonstration" before the game that "makes a statement on racial injustice and shows unity."
Pelissero added that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills and Texans safety Michael Thomas are among the players involved in talks. Pelissero referred to the conversations as "fluid."
The NFL took a stance against demonstrations such as kneeling during the anthem in past years, which is a practice then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick pioneered in 2016.
The league eventually asked players to stay in the locker room during the anthem rather than kneeling. If the Chiefs and Texans do so Thursday, it will mark the first time two entire teams have remained in the locker room for the anthem since 2017.
Since the killing of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in May, the NFL has softened its stance on protesting against racial inequality, social injustice and police brutality.
In a video featuring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that was released by the league in June, Goodell said the league was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."
With the NFL giving its blessing and also planning to spread social justice messages on a leaguewide scale, it stands to reason that a large number of players will protest in some way during Week 1 of the NFL season.