(Reuters) - Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters appeared to stage a silent protest before the NFL’s season opener on Thursday as he stayed seated during the playing of the U.S. national anthem.
Peters sat alone on a table with his helmet perched atop his head while he looked toward the field ahead of his team’s game against the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Prior to the game, Peters shared a photo on Twitter with a pair of cleats with one having “Liberty” written on the bottom while the other said “Justice For All.”
He also tweeted: “Stand for what you stand in. If you see the potential for good, speak up. Don’t be Quiet.”
NFL players protesting during the “Star-Spangled Banner” has become increasingly common since Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem last season, saying he was protesting police brutality and social inequality.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract in March and has not been signed by another team.
Peters, a first-round draft pick in 2015 who was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons, has opted not to stand for the anthem on previous occasions.
The 24-year-old rode a stationary bike during the anthem before a pre-season game in August and raised a fist ahead of a regular season game in 2016.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch and a number of Cleveland Browns players were among those who have not stood for the anthem during the 2017 pre-season.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury