Miami Dolphins

Dolphins players are starting to change their tunes on the national anthem

Dolphins players (from left) Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills kneel during the national anthem at Sunday’s game in Seattle. Jenkins wrote in a Time essay that he would cease kneeling during the anthem, and Thomas and Stills have said they are undecided whether they would continue to kneel. Foster is the only one of the four who said he would not stop kneeling.
Dolphins players (from left) Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills kneel during the national anthem at Sunday’s game in Seattle. Jenkins wrote in a Time essay that he would cease kneeling during the anthem, and Thomas and Stills have said they are undecided whether they would continue to kneel. Foster is the only one of the four who said he would not stop kneeling. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Days after four Miami Dolphins decided to kneel during the national anthem in Seattle, one of them has decided not to do it anymore and two others said they’re not sure.

Whereas running back Arian Foster said he would continue kneeling Sunday against New England and in future games, linebacker Jelani Jenkins — in an essay for Time magazine — said he would not. Receiver Kenny Stills and safety Michael Thomas have said they’re still deciding.

“This is not about football, the flag, the military, or Jelani Jenkins. This is about the message: equality for all,” Jenkins wrote in the Time essay. “… What I want is simple: equal rights and equal opportunities for every single person living in this country. The same dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had … So to stand idly by and witness men and children who look like me being senselessly shot and killed is not an option. No more hashtags. Enough is enough.

Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster talks to the media on Mon., Sept. 12, 2016 about why he decided to kneel down during the National Anthem in Sunday's season-opening game against the Seattle Seahawks.

“Racial, social and economic inequality is very real in this country, and it is time for real change with real results. In order to help stimulate meaningful change, sometimes it takes a controversial — but meaningful — stand. … I do not expect change to happen overnight. That is extremely unrealistic. It will take consistent work and an undeniable effort to make things right.

“… Now that the conversation has begun, on Sunday, Sept. 18 I intend to stand united with my teammates and the Miami Dolphins organization during the national anthem, which I have done since my arrival in 2013. God Bless you all.”

Thomas said he has received social-media messages from celebrities, politicians and others who support his decision to kneel, with overall reaction about 50/50. Foster said he also has received messages of support from famous people in music and members of the military. Both players declined to identify those people.

Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills talks about why he decided to take a knee during the national anthem before the Dolphins game against the Seattle Seahawks.

INJURY UPDATE

▪ Defensive end Mario Williams, in the NFL’s concussion protocol, sat out practice Thursday, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph spoke as though Williams would not be available for Sunday’s game.

Asked about replacing Williams, Joseph said: “On base downs, Jason Jones’ role won’t change. On third and sub downs, we may have to adjust not having Mario.”

Center Mike Pouncey (hip) also sat out practice.

▪ Receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) practiced some Thursday, but coach Adam Gase said how he feels would determine whether he plays Sunday. Parker said he’s feeling better.

▪ Though defensive end Cameron Wake played only 29 of 82 defensive snaps on Sunday, Joseph said at the end of the game Wake “was a little gassed” because he played more base defense snaps when Williams left.

“If it’s a critical point in the game, Cam’s going to be out there,” Joseph said. “If the game’s on the line, Cam’s going to be out there.”

Gase said he doesn’t want Wake playing 50 snaps.

▪ Joseph said linebacker Donald Butler, signed Tuesday, is “probably not” playing this week for but he is going to get snaps eventually at weakside linebacker, where Jenkins starts.

“We didn’t want to sign a backup linebacker for special teams,” Joseph said. “We wanted someone to play linebacker for us eventually. As he gets caught up in the playbook, he’s going to help us. He’s going to play actually. “

▪ The Dolphins signed quarterback Brandon Doughty to the practice squad after releasing him from the 53-man roster on Tuesday.

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