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Miami Dolphins to remain in locker room during anthems

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins will remain inside the locker room during both the national anthem and "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing," traditionally known as the Black national anthem, in the 2020 NFL season.

Both anthems are expected to be performed live or played before every Week 1 game, among other measures by the league to observe victims of police brutality and racial injustice.

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"This attempt to unify only creates more divide. So we'll skip this song and dance, and as a team we'll stay inside," multiple Dolphins players combined to say in the team's two-minute, 17-second video posted Thursday. "We need changed hearts, not just a 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."

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In the Dolphins' video, 18 players -- both Black and White -- spoke about their desires for prison reform and justice against police brutality. They also demanded for NFL owners to get more involved in creating change.

"We don't need another publicity parade," Dolphins defensive back Bobby McCain said in the video. "If you speak up for change, I'll shut up and play."

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At the conclusion of the video, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores supported his players, saying: "Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions. We'll just stay inside."

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The Dolphins are the first NFL team to collectively issue a statement regarding protests during the national anthem this season. Players involved in the video were: Christian Wilkins, Davon Godchaux, Shaq Lawson, Ted Karras, Jesse Davis, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, Eric Rowe, Kavon Frazier, McCain, Byron Jones, Jamal Perry, Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Preston Williams, Isaiah Ford, Matt Breida and Patrick Laird.

Meanwhile, all members of the Houston Texans remained in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem and "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing" before Thursday night's season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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The Chiefs stayed on the field for both anthems, with linebacker Alex Okafor being the only player to kneel during the national anthem. After the anthem finished, both teams lined up near the middle of the field and locked arms for a moment of silence to recognize victims of police brutality and social injustice.

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