Sports | September 11, 2020 9:55 am

Kansas City Fans Boo Players Protesting Racism With Moment of Unity

The booing came before the Chiefs defeated the Texans 34-20 to kick off the NFL season

Kansas City Fans Boo Players Protesting Racism With Moment of Unity
The Kansas City Chiefs stand united with locked arms before the start of their game against the Texans.
Getty Images

Before the Chiefs defeated the Texans 34-20 to kick off the NFL season, players from both teams shook hands and linked arms during a moment of silence designed to serve as a call for unity and social justice.

Unfortunately, that moment of silence was broken by boos and jeers from the limited crowd of roughly 17,000 fans that had been permitted into Arrowhead Stadium.

“It’s really not about the flag, it’s about making sure that people understand that Black lives do matter,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after the game.

The booing occurred after the playing of both the national anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song known as the Black national anthem. The Chiefs were on the field for both songs while the Texans remained in their locker room during the performance. One Kansas City player, defensive end Alex Okafor, knelt and raised an arm while a teammate put a hand on his shoulder during the anthem.

“The moment of unity I personally thought was good. The booing was unfortunate in that moment,” Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said after the game “I don’t fully understand that. There was no flag involved, there was nothing involved with that besides two teams coming together to show unity.”

It was a somewhat awkward start to a season that will likely be filled with similar pre-game shows of unity and protest from players who want to use their platform to call attention to the racial injustice and social inequality in America.

As for the game itself, the Chiefs picked up right where they left off with reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes throwing for 211 yards and one touchdown apiece to Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire busted out for 138 yards and another score in a game that wasn’t really all that close.

“I’m proud of our players but I’m also proud of our fans. They came out there. They were loud,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who claimed he didn’t notice the booing. “Obviously, our players, both sides of the ball and special teams, I thought they were solid. For the first game there were some good things that were done, some great individual performances.”

Texans QB Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, and Houston running back David Johnson rushed for 77 yards and a TD in the loss.

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