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Packers again choose to stay inside locker room during national anthem

Jim Owczarski
Packers News

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers decided, as a team, to remain in the locker room during the playing of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” and the national anthem before the Sept. 13 season opener in Minneapolis, but afterward club president and CEO Mark Murphy told PackersNews.com that he felt any further pregame messaging would remain a week-to-week conversation.

Head coach Matt LaFleur reiterated that during his final media session of the week Friday, saying “Yeah, I think that’s something we’ll talk about on a weekly basis and we’ll adjust accordingly.”

Sunday afternoon, the Packers once again decided to remain in the locker room for the national anthem.

Some players for the Lions went to the locker room while others knelt and stood along the back of the south end zone. About a half dozen players and a coach knelt, including quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Last week in Detroit, Stafford joined several teammates in kneeling during the national anthem while many returned to the locker room. The Lions were the first NFL team to cancel a practice to focus on social justice conversations in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey on Aug. 23.

There were no fans in Lambeau Field on Sunday, but Aaron Rodgers remembered the fallout when nearly the entire team chose to stand with locked arms during a Sept. 24, 2017 game against Cincinnati. Kevin King, Lance Kendricks and Martellus Bennett sat on the bench.

“The heat that we took; the sweet, sweet secretaries at Lambeau Field, you know, the heat they took from angry fans was alarming,” Rodgers said on Kyle Brandt’s podcast for The Ringer, which was published in mid-August. “That’s the only way to say it.”

Since first meeting with the media Aug. 3, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams has maintained anything the team does regarding social justice messaging is about creating an actionable end result.

“It helps bring awareness but we need actual changes,” Adams said then. “I’m here for the long haul. It’s tough being in a place like Green Bay where it’s not necessarily perceived as the right thing to do at all times but it’s just the right thing in general. I think that’s more so what I’m focused on and everybody else, as well. I’ve gotten a lot of support from other teammates, other people around the league have reached out to me. There’s been police officers that I’ve spoken to that I necessarily didn’t speak to before letting me know that they’re in my corner. When people like that are reaching out and they’re also echoing the message, that’s when we start to make a little bit of progress and you start to head in the right direction to get to where we need to be.”

Murphy told PackersNews.com last week that along with opening the Johnsonville Tailgate Village as a polling place in November, the club is working with Green Bay, Ashwaubenon and Brown County police departments to help purchase body cams.