As a full-field-sized American flag was unfurled on the turf in front of them and the national anthem began, all players on the Kansas City Chiefs linked arms along their sideline as a “sign of solidarity.”
Cornerback Marcus Peters, however, found a way to make a point about his support for racial injustice.
Peters, a second-year player from Oakland, Calif., was standing on one end of the line of players and raised his right fist, a la Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics:
The Chiefs released a statement before kickoff explaining their decision to link arms:
As it turns out, Peters wasn’t the only NFL player to raise his fist during the early games on Sunday. A trio of Tennessee Titans defensive players – Jurrell Casey, Jason McCourty and Wesley Woodyard – also did the gesture:
A photo posted by Sports Illustrated (@sportsillustrated) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:21pm PDT
In addition to winning the gold medal in the 200 meters at the 1968 Games, Smith was also a good enough football player to spend the 1969 season with the Cincinnati Bengals; Carlos, who won the bronze medal in that 200 meters, was drafted in the 15th round by the Philadelphia Eagles and played for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League.