Fans of the NFL have been expressing their dismay at how the NFL has become 'politicized' in the wake of recent Black Lives Matter protests.
Teams opening their seasons in empty stadiums on Sunday knelt, locked arms, raised fists in protest or stayed off the field entirely for the 'Star-Spangled Banner' and the Black anthem 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' as the once-reluctant league brought racial injustice to the forefront on the NFL's first full slate of games.
But the gesture has provoked strong feelings among a segment of fans who were already unhappy when players knelt for the national anthem which started when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016.
The issue has since been further aggravated after the NFL said they would add 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' before all the opening games of the 2020 season.
The Los Angeles Chargers stand arm-in-arm before their game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Bengals stand arm in arm as 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' is played before an NFL football game
There was a barrage of Tweets from supporters of the NFL who were not happy at political messages and 'social justice' actions crossing over into their football game
'I think the NFL is taking a big misstep in making their product not about the game of football and making it about the political agendas of some of its players,' Green Bay Packers fan Andy Duffrin of Marinette, Wisconsin, said to the Green Bay Press Gazette. 'The proof is in the pudding and the pudding they are about to serve up is not going to taste very good to a lot of loyal fans.'
In a recent poll by the Washington Post, 56% of Americans said they believed it to be appropriate for athletes to kneel during the national anthem with 42% saying it was inappropriate.
But on Sunday, NFL fans on Twitter expressed their upset at what they had been witnessing in stadiums across the country.
'The NFL is done,' one fan put simply.
Many were unhappy at the apparent crossover of politics and 'social justice' into the game.
'End racism is written at an NFL end zone. WTF is the scenario where a racist sees that, and addresses his issues. That's just the laziest, performative bulls***,' stated one fan.
'NFL is a total s***show with their crossing over into politics and 'social justice' nobody wants to see that s***! Roger Goodell and your ratings will soon prove that Exactly to be true, dumb***!'
'Loved watching my Broncos, but I love my country more. To HELL with the NFL and Players! GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND GOD BLESS AMERICA.'
One Denver Broncos fan decided to burn his team's flag and captured the moment on video which he then posted to Twitter
The former Denver Bronco's fan concluded the video of him burning the team flag by holding up the stars and stripes
One Twitter user seemed to beg for the NFL and coverage of the games to keep politics out of sports
Some fans were not happy that players were standing for the 'black anthem' and yet kneeling for the National Anthem
The Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Chargers linked arms and stood for a moment in a stand against racial inequality
Baltimore Ravens players gather on the field before and NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Baltimore
Another user, Clay Travis from Nashville expressed his upset with the Baltimore Ravens.
'The Ravens stood for the black national anthem. And then most of the team kneeled for the national anthem. That, my friends, is a REALLY bad look,' he wrote.
'I wouldn't know, cuz I'm never watching nfl football again,' chimed in another in response.
A female fan from Arizona expressed similar sentiments.
'I love my country; I HATE the NFL,' tweeted Victoria Martel.
The NFL along with other professional sports leagues are in favor of bringing attention to the treatment of black people by law enforcement after George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25.
A Baltimore Ravens' fan declared the team kneeling for the national anthem to be a 'bad look' while another responded how they were never going to watch the NFL again
One female fan declared starkly how she loved her country but hated the NFL
Members of the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles lock arms and form an oval on the field before the start of an NFL football game on Sunday in Landover, Maryland
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL should have taken Kaepernick's and other players' protests more seriously from the start.
The NFL has pledged $250 million to support social justice causes in addition to extra money to individual teams. The Packers pledged $500,000 and Murphy $250,000 to Wisconsin-based organizations. Many players also have foundations through which they support local and national causes.
But Kaepernick's tweet on Sunday suggested he was still skeptical that anything had changed in the league.
'While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community. Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league.'
Reid was a former safety for the 49ers and Carolina Panthers.
He was the second player, behind Kaepernick, to participate in kneeling protests during performances of the national anthem before NFL games.
Wayne Sargent of Campbellsport who runs a Green Bay Packers fan club says he believes the teams should stick to entertainment rather than political messages.
'Lately, the teams and players have turned professional sports into an arena for social and political outcry,' Sargent said. 'Professional sports should not be used as a platform for expression, but for the enjoyment of their fans — those fans that support their teams and players. If this behavior keeps up, I truly believe the only fans in the stands may be made of cardboard.'
New England Patriots including head coach Bill Belichick, left, quarterback Cam (1) and defensive back Terrence Brooks (25) stand during the singing of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing'
One Kansas City Chiefs team attempted to explain the negative response from fans.
Kaepernick appeared to be angered by the NFL pushing its social justice initiatives while his former teammate Eric Reid remained a free agent to start the season
New England Patriots stand during the singing of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' by Alicia Keys, on the video screen, before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Back online, NFL fan Luke Silver did not hold back: 'NFL is a total s*** show with their crossing over into politics and 'social justice' nobody wants to see that s***. Roger Goodell and your ratings will soon prove that Exactly to be true, dumbass!'
Evan Gearing from Georgetown, Texas said that the current display made it hard for him to still support the NFL.
'Makes it very hard for this lifelong football fan to go back to watching games. And I am someone who had a bucket list to see a game in every stadium. Been to at least 10 stadiums so far. Planned vacations around nfl. Not anymore, since 2017 haven't watched a game.'
Ken Zimmern from Texas tweeted his thoughts on the matter together with a pic of the entire Washington team kneeling at the side of the field.
'NFL Players expressing hatred for their own country. Career suicide. Eventually this will end badly. And their income will be affected. #Disgrace #UnAmerican'.
sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Baltimore Ravens take a moment of silence during pregame against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium
New England Patriots stand on the touchline before the start of their game on Sunday
One NFL fan declared themselves to be 'Done!' after being 'subjected' to kneeling players, fists in the air and the black National Anthem
Another fan told how they hadn't watched an NFL game for three years but had been a lifelong