Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes told NBC Sports' Michele Tafoya that NFL players are not going to let playing the sport distract them from fighting for social justice when asked about the show of unity between his team and the Houston Texans prior to their season-opening game Thursday:
"With everything going on in this country, we wanted to show that we are unified as a league, and we're not going to let playing football distract us from what we're doing in making change in this world," Mahomes said.
Mahomes' Chiefs defeated the Texans 34-20 in the first game of its Super Bowl title defense.
Prior to the game, Mahomes and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson locked arms as both teams stood at midfield in their show of unity in the fight for social justice.
A smattering of boos could be heard from the limited crowd allowed in Arrowhead Stadium amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien was asked about that after the game.
"To be honest, I didn’t really hear that," Texans coach Bill O’Brien said when asked about the boos, per Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports.
"I didn’t notice that...maybe they were just booing us because we had just come on the field."
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he didn't hear any booing but that it was a "neat deal" to witness "both sides coming together for the cause," per Paylor.
Before the game, the Chiefs stood with their arms locked during the playing of an NFL-produced video backing the fight for social justice in addition to the singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song widely considered the Black national anthem.
Some Chiefs also stood with their arms locked in unity during the national anthem, and linebacker Alex Okafor knelt with his fist raised. Other Chiefs stood with their hands over their hearts.
The Texans stayed inside the locker room for most of the pregame festivities, with the show of unity the notable exception.
The rest of NFL's Week 1 will kick off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Thirteen games will take place that day, with two more occurring Monday.