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Miami Dolphins say they’ll stay in locker room for national anthem

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 22: A Miami Dolphins helmet at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images via CNN)

 (CNN) — Members of the Miami Dolphins say they will “stay inside” for both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — known as the Black National Anthem — before their game against the New England Patriots Sunday.

The powerful video, posted on Twitter Thursday, was over two minutes long and featured players who each spoke a line about why they decided to sit out the anthems.

“If we could just right our wrongs, we wouldn’t need two songs.”

“We don’t need another publicity parade.”

“We need changed hearts, not just a response to pressure.”

The video came as the NFL kicked off its 2020 season — one vastly different from seasons past. For one, as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, stands this year will be almost empty. There will also be a new emphasis on social justice, following a summer of unrest after the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced this month the league has planned a series of social justice initiatives, including helmet decals, a voter activation push and phrases stenciled in the end zones.

“We need owners with influence and pockets bigger than ours,” players say in the Dolphins’ video. “And you fight for prison reform and innocent lives, and you repair the communities that were tossed to the side, and you admit you gained from it, and you swallowed your pride, and when greed is not the compass but the love is the guide, and when the courts don’t punish skin color, but punish the crime, until then, we’ll just skip the long production, and stay inside.”

The video concludes with the team’s head coach stating, “Before the media starts wondering and guessing, we just answered all your questions.

“We’ll just stay inside.”

Over the summer, the NFL announced it would pledge $250 million over the next 10 years to help fight systemic racism and use its television network to raise awareness around social justice issues.

But football players say they’ve been talking about the problems for years and in June, Goodell admitted the league was wrong not to have listened.

Last month, the commissioner said he wished the league would have “listened earlier” to Colin Kaepernick when the player began kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality in 2016.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has not played in the NFL since that controversy and several players in the league have called for Kaepernick to be signed back.

Goodell said in August he now better understands why players were protesting and expressed frustration at those who mischaracterize the actions.

“It is not about the flag,” Goodell said. “These are not people who are unpatriotic.”

“What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”