Three years after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee on the sidelines of a game, Miami Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson took a knee during the national anthem for his team’s season-opening 59-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday evening.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Wilson took a knee during the anthem before every game last season as well, and had previously said he was doing so in support of his former teammate Kenny Stills. Now that Stills has been traded to the Houston Texans, Wilson has kept up the silent protest on his own, saying he doesn’t “feel like anything has changed.”
“We’re protesting social injustice and police brutality,” Wilson told the Sun-Sentinel. “Things haven’t changed since last year so we’ll continue to protest.”
Although Dolphins owner Steve Ross has expressed concerns over the kneeling protests being potential distractions from the game, since 2016 he has given his players the freedom to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. This is in contrast to other team owners—Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys for example—who have explicitly said their players may not kneel during the anthem. Ross came under fire this summer after the Washington Post reported he hosted a pricey Trump re-election fundraiser. Stills rightfully called Ross out for the fundraiser, and the backlash reached a point where many called for the boycott of Equinox and Soul Cycle gyms, both of which Ross owns.
Wilson also has the support of his coach, Brian Flores, a black and Hispanic man who grew up in New York and said he has been on the receiving end of police policies that negatively impact black men.
“Quite honestly, they’re bringing attention to my story. So, let’s talk about that. I’m the son of immigrants. I’m black. I grew up poor. I grew up in New York during the stop-and-frisk era, so I’ve been stopped because I fit a description before. So everything these guys have protested, I’ve lived it. I’ve experienced it,” Flores told the Sun-Sentinel during the preseason.
“I applaud those guys, how [they] protest. Whether it’s Kaepernick, or Eric Reid, or Kenny, I applaud those guys. I told Kenny that in our meeting, in front of our entire team.”