Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford knelt during the national anthem. Here's why

Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was among several players from both teams to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans at Ford Field.

Stafford has knelt all season during the anthem since the Lions opened the season Sept. 13 against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field.

On Thursday, he knelt on the sideline between backup quarterback Chase Daniel and linebackers coach Ty McKenzie, who is Black. Daniel and McKenzie each placed a hand on Stafford’s shoulders during the playing of Caleb Carroll’s prerecorded performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Detroit Lions players include quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) kneel during the playing of national anthem before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.
Detroit Lions players include quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) kneel during the playing of national anthem before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.

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Several other players, including Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson, also knelt during the anthem.

CBS’s national broadcast of Thursday game included the anthem. But the broadcasts of the Lions’ previous games have not included the anthem, which means it was the first time most spectators – and especially a national audience — had seen Stafford kneel.

On Sept. 16, Stafford said it “just felt like it was the right thing at the right time” when he explained why he had joined Adrian Peterson and other teammates who knelt during the anthem.

“Obviously, it’s been an amazing offseason for me personally, for our team, for a lot of people,” Stafford said in September. “There’s been a great opportunity for growth and learning and understanding, and just felt like it was the right thing for me, as certain guys on our team felt like the right thing was standing, certain guys felt like the right thing for them was being in the locker room.

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“We support each other. We know where everybody stands in our locker room. We love each other and support each other and that’s that.”

The week before the Lions’ opener, NFL players demonstrated en masse against racial injustice and police brutality. On Aug. 25, the Lions agreed collectively to cancel practice in a demonstration against police brutality after the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, in Kenosha, Wis.

The Lions’ demonstration sparked a week of demonstrations throughout all American sports leagues.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford knelt during the anthem. Here's why