By Mark Gallagher
Adrian Peterson “without a doubt” will be taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, and he expects to be joined by several NFL players.
The Redskins running back made his comments to the Houston Chronicle on Friday in discussing Drew Brees’ comments last week that players kneeling during the anthem were “disrespecting the flag.” The New Orleans Saints quarterback later apologized and stood by his apology on Friday night after President Donald Trump wrote that Brees should not have changed his stance.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to protest racial injustice in the United States by kneeling during the anthem. After being released by the 49ers in 2017, he has gone unsigned and reached a settlement with the NFL last year after filing a grievance alleging collusion by teams against him signing a contract because of his protest.
The league adopted a policy in 2018 that required players to stand for the anthem but allowed them to stay in the locker room during it, only to pull the policy back after an agreement with the NFL Players Association. Last season only a handful of players knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, but now, following national protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, it appears more players will be taking a knee, according to Peterson.
“Just four years ago, you’re seeing Kaepernick taking a knee, and now we’re all getting ready to take a knee together going into this season, without a doubt,” Peterson told the Chronicle from his gym in Houston.
Asked by the newspaper again if he planned to take a knee, he said: “Yeah, without a doubt, without a doubt.”
Peterson said that if players protest in large numbers it will be hard for them to be targeted for backlash from the league.