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NFL players raise fists, kneel and stay off field during national anthem

Pre-season football has only just begun, but the debate over national anthem protocol is well underway.

Some players continue to kneel during the anthem, and President Trump continues to rail against the posture on twitter.  

CBS news Jericka Duncan has more from the Jets-Falcons game at Met-Life Stadium, in east Rutherford, New Jersey.

The New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons stuck to football Friday night.
But players on some teams have started the preseason protesting racial injustice by kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem. 

"That's all I'm trying to do is preach freedom and unity."

President Trump tweeted his opposition: 

(tweet) The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem...

The protest began in 2016, with former 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  President Trump said last September.

Fans we spoke with say the ongoing controversy is overblown.

((SOT Michael O'Connor/Jets Fan))
"It's been blown up a little too much.  It's a football game.  We're here to have fun."

((SOT Randy Pannell/Jets Fan))
"I think his time is wasted on this particular issue.  The President's time?  Yes."

NFL owners voted in May to mandate all players either stand for the anthem, or stay in the locker room.

That idea didn't go over well with the players union, and the policy is on hold.

"Sports has always been a reflection of society."

Sports business professor Lee Igel says the NFL needs to figure out its values and find a way to move forward. 

((SOT Lee Igel/Tisch Institute for Global Sport))
"It's not about standing, it's not about staying in the locker room, and it's not about kneeling.  Those seem to have not worked.  They haven't really resolved the issue."

The league and the players union say they are working on a solution they hope to have in place by the start of the season.

JERICKA DUNCAN, CBS NEWS, EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY.


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