Miami Dolphins Call NFL Pregame Ceremonies “Fluff and Empty Gestures”

The team plans to stay in the locker room for the national anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing"

Miami Dolphins Call NFL Pregame Ceremonies “Fluff and Empty Gestures”
Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on during warmups.
Getty Images

Before games this season, the NFL is going to play both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song known as the Black national anthem, in a supposed effort to call for unity. (It didn’t go so well last night in the season opener.)

Teams have the option to take the field or to remain in the locker room for the playing of the anthems. In a video posted to social media, the Miami Dolphins made it clear they will be choosing the latter option on Sunday and for the foreseeable future.

In a video they posted on Twitter, both Black and white players said they did not appreciate the league’s empty marketing slogans about racial equality, which they called “fluff and empty gestures.”

“This attempt to unify only creates more divide. So we’ll skip this song and dance, and as a team we’ll stay inside,” several Dolphins players combined to say in the video. “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.”

Playing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before games is “just a way to save face,” according to the video.

The video ends with Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who is one of just three Black head coaches in the league, repeating that the team plans to stay inside. “Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions,” he says in the clip. “We’ll just stay inside.”

Following the release of the video, Flores said it was a “player-driven” initiative, but he joined them because he was supportive of the message.

“The message is to create unity, not divide,” Flores said. “That’s partly why they wanted to do it. Specific to our locker room, I think we’re all on the same page. I hope it’s that way.”

The Dolphins open their season on Sunday afternoon in New England against the Patriots.

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