Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he will kneel during the national anthem this season to protest racial injustice, and he doesn’t plan to be the only player to do so.
Peterson made his feelings known to the Houston Chronicle in the aftermath of the comments made by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said that players were “disrespecting the flag” by kneeling during the anthem. Brees later apologized for his comments.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protested racial injustice in the United States by kneeling during the anthem in the 2016 season. Kaepernick has yet to sign with an NFL team since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017.
“Years ago, seeing Kaepernick taking a knee, now we’re all ready to take a knee together going into this season without a doubt,” Peterson said.
When asked by the Houston Chronicle if he will take a knee, Peterson replied: “Without a doubt, without a doubt.”
The NFL adopted a policy in 2018 that required players to stand for the national anthem, but allowed them to stay in the locker room during it if they chose. The league has since pulled the policy back after an agreement with the NFL Players Association.
Peterson, who played 10 seasons (2007-16) with the Minnesota Vikings, contends that more players will be taking a knee this season following national protests over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
“We’ve got to put the effort in as a group collectively. Are they going to try to punish us all? If not, playing football is going to help us save lives and change things, then that’s what it needs to be,” Peterson told the newspaper.
Peterson, 35, is currently fifth on the all-time rushing list with 14,216 yards.
Peterson was a team captain and led Washington in attempts (211), rushing yards (898) and rushing touchdowns (5) last season.
Peterson has played in 164 career games. He currently ranks No. 8 in rushing attempts (3,036), No. 4 in rushing touchdowns (111) and No. 8 in yards per game (86.7) in NFL history.
Next up on the rushing list would be Barry Sanders, who is 1,053 yards ahead of Peterson and fourth on the all-time rushing list.
Peterson is 12 rushing touchdowns behind Marcus Allen for third all-time.
—Field Level Media