Arian Foster jumped headfirst into the conversation of race in America, taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem Sunday.
Foster was joined by Dolphins teammates Michael Thomas, Jelani Jenkins and Kenny Stills in his silent protest of the treatment of African-Americans by police. The display was not coordinated with the Seahawks, who linked arms in a demonstration of unity.
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Foster’s decision to protest was a reversal of his thinking from two weeks ago. On Aug. 28, he told the Miami Herald that he understood why 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the anthem, but wouldn’t personally follow Kaepernick’s tactics.
“I don’t necessarily see that as a solution to anything,” Foster said then. “This is me talking. This is Arian talking. If that’s what he felt, that’s his form of protest, I support his right to protest. Those are his thoughts, his opinions.”
Foster continued: “Would I not stand up for the pledge [of allegiance]? Me? No. I don’t see the correlation, in my opinion. But I understand what he’s doing.”
The Dolphins released the following statement immediately after Foster’s demonstration.
“We encourage all members of our organization to stand at attention during the national anthem out of respect and appreciation for the freedoms we are afforded as Americans. We also recognize that it's an individual's right to reflect during the anthem in different ways. We respect these liberties and appreciate the sacrifices that everyone has made for our country, especially on this day of remembrance. We hope today’s events will continue a respectful and thoughtful dialogue in our community on unity, inclusiveness and togetherness.”
The Seahawks went on to defeat the Dolphins 12-10.