The decision by four Miami Dolphins players kneeled during the national anthem before kickoff against Seattle Sunday is being met with both support and backlash - including from one super model who is engaged to another professional athlete.
Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Jelani Jenkins and Kenny Stills took a knee just before the anthem began. The four held their hands over their hearts as the anthem played and stood immediately at its conclusion.
"I chose to get involved to see if I could create change, raise awareness. And I want to make it clear that there is no disrespect to the military or to police officers — I'm not about that. I love everyone," said Jenkins. "I would like to keep moving forward in the right direction with everybody: equal rights, equal opportunity. From my position, it doesn't seem that it's happening. That's why I took a stand."
The Dolphins got support from one very important person — their boss, team owner Stephen Ross.
"I don't think it was any lack of respect," Ross said. "I think everybody here, our team and our whole organization, respects the flag and what it stands for, the soldiers and everything. These guys are really making a conversation of something that's a very important topic in this country and I'm 100 percent supportive of them."
Kate Upton, who is engaged to Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, specifically condemned the players' actions as "more horrific'' because they occurred on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I could never imagine multiple people sitting down during the national anthem on the Sept. 11th anniversary,'' Upton wrote. "The lessons of 9/11 should teach us that if we come together, the world can be a better and more peaceful place.''
The Dolphins later released a statement:
"We encourage all members of our organization to stand at attention during the national anthem out of respect and appreciation for the freedoms we are afforded as Americans. We also recognize that it's an individual's right to reflect during the anthem in different ways. We respect these liberties and appreciate the sacrifices that everyone has made for our country, especially on this day of remembrance. We hope today's events will continue a respectful and thoughtful dialogue in our community on unity, inclusiveness and togetherness"
On the opposite sideline, Seahawks players and coaches locked arm-in-arm. That included defensive back Jeremy Lane, who sat during the national anthem in the preseason finale in Oakland in a sign of support for San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Lane indicated earlier in the week a plan to continue sitting during the anthem but changed after the Seahawks decided to stand together as a team.
Lane stood next to Richard Sherman and near coach Pete Carroll.