Cris Collinsworth's support for NFL players' demonstrations met with mixed reactions

NFL kicks off new season amid COVID pandemic and focus on racial issues

The 2020 season will be shaped as much by the summer’s unrest as it is by the coronavirus pandemic; Kevin Corke reports.

NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth drew the ire of fans watching the first game of the NFL season between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.

Before kickoff, Collinsworth delivered a message about the NFL’s social justice initiatives and players demonstrating before the national anthem.

“I feel like I have to start off by saying I stand behind these players 100%, 100%. What they’re trying to do is bring positive change in this country that frankly is long, long overdue. Let’s just get that out of the way and go call a football game,” he said.

The message didn’t resonate with everyone, however.

The longtime NFL announcer’s comments came after the Chiefs locked arms in unity during the playing of the Black national anthem. The team was also on the field for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in which most players either locked arms or put their hands over their hearts. At least one player knelt and put a fist in the air. The Texans were not out for the song.

The Chiefs and Texans players then joined each other at midfield prior to the coin toss. Fans appeared to boo the demonstration.

The demonstrations were a part of the league’s effort to promote social justice issues. The league had painted “End Racism” in the end zone.

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Players chose to have other messages during their pregame workouts. “It Takes All of Us” and “BLM” were among the phrases seen on the field.

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