Chicago Bears players kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Green Bay Packers in Arlington, Texas, in October 2017.
(John Bazemore/Associated Press)Chicago Bears players knelt during the National Anthem before a Sunday Night Football game against Green Bay.
The Bears, who played the Packers in a game in Arlington before the national strike, had already lost to the Packers, 24-10.
They were the third team in the league to do so, joining the Eagles and Cowboys.
But the NFL Players Association said the anthem protests are an effort to draw attention to racial injustice in America and a threat to the league’s image.
“The purpose of the national boycott, the national walkout, is to raise awareness about the systemic issues of police brutality and racial injustice and the ways in which we are failing our African American community,” said David Brock, executive director of the NFLPA.
“We are working on ways to get this message out to a broader audience.
I am grateful to my teammates, coaches and staff for continuing to stand with our black brothers and sisters.”
While the NFL has been in discussions with the union about the protests, the league has been silent on the subject of the anthem since the anthem demonstrations started.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on Sunday, saying he does not condone disrespectful acts of violence by players.
But players have taken matters into their own hands, refusing to kneel in protest.
The protest movement has become so widespread that NFL teams have moved the league games to their home cities for a week.
Brock said that while the league is not in a position to take any action at this time, the players are trying to “move the needle” on the issue.
“We’re trying to be as engaged as possible,” Brock said.
“This is not the time to take sides.
This is the time for players to stand up and to say we want a league that respects our civil liberties, we want our athletes to stand for our national anthem.”
The NFL has not publicly discussed the protests during the games.
However, the commissioner, Roger Goodell, said last month he supports players’ right to protest.