Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford asked her players to not kneel for the national anthem. She did not threaten to fire anyone who did.
Ford offered a solution that seemed fair to all sides. The Detroit Free Press said in a meeting with players she asked them to not kneel and offered to “donate both money and her name to community issues at the heart of the players’ cause.”
Eight Lions players took a knee for the anthem on Sept. 24, according to the Free Press. Two Lions players, linebackers Steve Longa and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, took a knee Sunday, but Lions defensive end Cornelius Washington said there “were probably alternate reasons” for them taking a knee. Longa’s father died after being struck by a car on Thursday, according to the Free Press.
Ford had linked arms with the players during the anthem before the Lions game a week earlier. She wasn’t on the field before Sunday’s game at the Minnesota Vikings.
For the most part, the demonstrations during the anthem that we saw in Week 3 weren’t as widespread on Sunday, though there were some. Some teams got around the issue by kneeling before the anthem and then standing for the song, as the Dallas Cowboys did last Monday.
The Lions players told the Free Press they were happy with the compromise with Ford. It seems like a constructive way to make change with social injustice, which is what Colin Kaepernick wanted when he first started protesting during the anthem.
“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 told the Detroit Free Press.
“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.”
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