Players on the Miami Dolphins announced in a video Thursday that they will remain in the team's locker room for the playing of the national anthem this Sunday ahead of their regular-season opener against the New England Patriots.
In the video, Dolphins players explained their decision to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem as well as the playing of Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the Black national anthem, which will be played before all 16 Week 1 games.
"Is it authentic? That's the mystery," the video begins. "Or is it just another symbolic victory. Now there's two anthems. Do we kneel, do we stand? If we can just right our wrongs we wouldn't need two songs. We don't need another publicity parade. So we'll just stay inside until it's time to play the game."
Players go on to call on owners with "influence and pockets bigger than ours to call up officials and flex political power" in lieu of "fluff and empty gestures."
The video concludes with head coach Brian Flores stating, "Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions. We'll just stay inside."
Flores said Friday that team owner Stephen Ross was made aware of the video.
"I talked to Steve about the video he was supportive," Flores said in a video call with reporters. "It was directed at everyone. Every individual in this country can do a little bit better. Players, coaches, owners, media, everyone can do better. That was the message. To misconstrue the message or take it in a different light ... it wasn't what the message was supposed to be. What's happening in this country and around the world, we need change. It's something we've been saying for a long time and the video speaks for itself."
Players participating in the video were: Christian Wilkins, Eric Rowe, Byron Jones, Ted Karras, Davon Godchaux, Kavon Frazier, Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy, Jesse Davis, Matt Brieda, Preston Williams, Bobby McCain, Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Isaiah Ford, Patrick Laird, Jamal Perry and Elandon Roberts.
The Dolphins Social Impact Committee announced Friday a donation of $100,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Fines and Fees program, a group that works to end the disenfranchisement and discrimination of people with convictions.
Below is the full text of the Dolphins players' message:
"Is it authentic? That's the mystery. Or is it just another symbolic victory. Now there's two anthems. Do we kneel, do we stand? If we can just right our wrongs we wouldn't need two songs. We don't need another publicity parade. So we'll just stay inside until it's time to play the game. Whatever happened to the funds that were promised? All of a sudden we've got a collapsed pocket? The bottom line should not be the net profit. You can't open your heart when its controlled by your wallet. Decals and patches. Fireworks and trumpets. We're not puppets. Don't publicize false budgets. Ask the pundits and we shouldn't have a say. If you speak up for change, then I'll shut up and play. If we remain silent that would just be selfish. Since they don't have a voice we're speaking up for the helpless. It's not enough to act like you care for the troops. Millions for pre-game patriotism. You get paid to salute.
"Life Every Voice and Sing? It's just a way to save face. Lose the mask and stop hiding the real game face. So if my dad was a solider but the cops killed my brother, do I stand for one anthem and then kneel for the other? This attempt to unify only creates more divide, so we'll just skip the song and dance, and as a team we'll stay inside. We need changed hearts, not just the response to pressure. Enough. No more fluff and empty gestures. We need owners with influence and pockets bigger than ours to call up officials and flex political power. When education is not determined by where we reside. And we have the means to purchase what the doctor prescribed. And you fight for prison reform and innocent lives. And you repair the communities that were tossed to the side. And you admit you gained from it and swallowed your pride. And when greed is not the compass but love is the guide. And when the courts don't punish skin color, but punish the crime. Until then we'll just skip the long production and just stay inside. For centuries we've been trying to make you aware. Either you're in denial or just simply don't really care. It's not a Black-white thing, or a left-right thing. Let's clean the whole bird, and stop arguing about which wing."