Four Miami Dolphins, including running back Arian Foster, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The other Dolphins were linebacker Jelani Jenkins, wide receiver Kenny Stills and safety Michael Thomas.
"They say it's not the time to do this," Foster said after the Dolphins' 12-10 loss. "When is the time? It's never the time in somebody else's eye, because they'll always feel like it's good enough. And some people don't. That's the beautiful thing about this country. If somebody feels it's not good enough, they have that right. That's all we're doing, exercising that right."
The Dolphins released a statement after the national anthem.
“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," the statement read. "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.”
Earlier in the day, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raised a fist during the national anthem prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers. New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty also raised their right fists after the anthem was played Sunday night before their game against the Arizona Cardinals.
"It's not about attention for me, though," Peters said after the game. "Don't talk about it - be about it. I come from a majority black community from Oakland, California. I grew up around my people a lot. I got family who's still in the struggle. All I'm saying is we need to educate the youth. If we keep educating the kids, then we eliminate these problems."
It was a day in which the league recognized the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with pre-game video messages from President Obama and former President George W. Bush.
All the players in early games stood during the 9/11 ceremonies.
Fans in Baltimore, where the Ravens opened their season against the Buffalo Bills, booed during Obama’s message, according to multiple reports.
The Chiefs, as a team, locked arms during the national anthem. The Seahawks did the same after announcing on Saturday their intention to do so.
“After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the National Anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity," the Chiefs said in a statement. "It was our goal to be unified as a team and to be respectful of everyone’s opinions, and the remembrance of 9/11. It’s our job as professional athletes to make a positive impact on our communities and to be proactive when change is needed. Together we are going to continue to have conversations, educate ourselves and others on social issues and work with local law enforcement officials and leaders to make an impact on the Kansas City community.”