Week 2 brought more kneeling football players, raised fists, in anthem protests

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Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist and San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was among several players who knelt during performances of the U.S. national anthem on Sunday.

Three Miami Dolphin players also 'took a knee' before their game against the New England Patriots as public protests continued in the National Football League aimed at drawing attention to racial inequality.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in before Sunday night's game between the Minnesota Vikings and visiting Green Bay Packers, saying he was encouraged by the direction players were taking their demonstrations.

"I truly respect our players wanting to speak out and change their community," Goodell said, according to the New York Times. "We don't live in a perfect society. We want them to use their voice.

"And they're moving from protest to progress and trying to make things happen in communities," he added, with a nod toward the community work some players are engaging in.

"I think where they're moving and how they're moving there is very productive and we're going to encourage that."

NFL PLAYERS PROTESTING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM:

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Colin Kaepernick and more pro athletes protesting during the national anthem
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Colin Kaepernick and more pro athletes protesting during the national anthem
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneels in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: (L-R) Rashard Robinson #33, Antoine Bethea #41, and Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers raise their fists in protest during the national anthem prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Brandon Marshall #54 of the Denver Broncos takes a knee in protest during the National Anthem before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.The Broncos defeated the Bengals 29-17. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans raises his fist during the national anthem before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Kenny Stills #10 of the Miami Dolphins (C) kneels during the national anthem before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles players Steven Means (51), Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Ron Brooks (33) raise their fists in the air during the national anthem for a game against the Chicago Bears on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
USA's Megan Rapinoe, right, kneels next to teammates Samanth Mewis (20) Christen Press (12), Ali Krieger (11), Crystal Dunn (16) and Ashlyn Harris (22) as the US national anthem is played before an exhibition soccer match against Netherlands Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, in San Diego. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagrees with Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Sep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem next to defensive end Jared Crick (93) and defensive tackle Billy Winn (97) and defensive tackle Adam Gotsis (99) before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
From left, Miami Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, kneel during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Kenny Britt #18 and Robert Quinn #94 of the Los Angeles Rams raise their fists in protest prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Phoenix Mercury's Kelsey Bone, right, and Mistie Bass, second from right, kneel during the playing of the national anthem before the start of a first round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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Kaepernick started what has become a controversy when he began the gesture against injustice and police brutality by refusing to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" during preseason games.

On Sunday, he and 49ers safety Eric Reid again knelt for the national anthem before their game against the Carolina Panthers, while safeties Antoine Bethea and Jaquiski Tartt, linebacker Eli Harold and cornerback Rashard Robinson raised their right fists.

In Los Angeles, Quinn also held his right fist high during a rendition of the national anthem by American singer-songwriter CeeLo Green ahead of the Rams' regular season home opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

The gesture by Quinn, 26, who is African-American, recalled the raised fist demonstration by black athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

Arian Foster, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas of the Miami Dolphins knelt before their game in New England, and Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey raised their fists in Detroit.

The protesting players have been seen as allies of the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew in response to a string of high-profile police killings of unarmed black people across the country. About two-thirds of NFL players are black.

The protests have also provoked anger in some fans who see the gesture as disrespecting the U.S. flag, the military and the nation in general.

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