The Miami Dolphins were inundated by phone calls, emails and social media outreach from fans and non-fans alike after four of their players began to protest what they view as social inequalities related to police shootings of black men. The four took a knee during the national anthem and presenting of colors before the season-opening loss at Seattle.
Some of the calls were to applaud the protest. Some were not. One source tells me more fan outreach was to show displeasure about the protest than approval. Another source tells me the applause and displeasure was about equal. There was so much reaction and it was so polarized, multiple team people are calling the reaction "binary."
But now that the protesting four are moving from raising awareness to promoting solutions and with the home-opener at Hard Rock Stadium scheduled for Sunday, there are fundamental questions on the table:
Will the protests continue?
That question is important on multiple fronts.
The most important of those is this: Are these four players (three if Jelani Jenkins, who kneeled the first game but stood during the national anthem last week, continues to stand) going to kneel and risk getting booed by disapproving fans at home?
Dolphins fans booing Dolphins players before kickoff.
That would present a sad picture. That would be a hard sight to witness.
And, by the way, although I have my thoughts and opinions on these protests and this topic, this is not about me. The players have a right to protest. The fans, paying good, hard earned money to get in the stadium to watch football, have a right to approve or disapprove of the players kneeling during the national anthem.
Everyone would be within their rights.
But there is no denying the optics of it all would be ugly.
In the opening weekend, the New England Patriots traveled to Arizona and two players -- Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty -- stood during the national anthem but did so with raised, clenched fists. It was a nod to the old school black power movement of the 1960s and early '70s.
When the team came home last week, however, to a home crowd and game that was honoring local police, I spotted no such clenched fists from those two players or anyone on the Patriots sideline.
Perhaps the players thought they made their point. Perhaps they didn't want to upset their home fans.
There's another question: If these Dolphins players are truly moving past raising awareness to finding solutions, are they going to continue to, well, raise awareness so to speak?
Are they moving on to the next step or not? Are they moving on to the next step, while continuing to tread on the last step?
That question will be answered today in the locker room. The doors are scheduled to open at 11:35. I'll have the answers then.
(At some point, I'll be covering football again).