KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was supposed to be a show of racial unity, when Chiefs and Texans players locked arms in a moment of silence prior to Thursday’s game. Instead, some fans in the stands booed.
The moment quickly went viral on Twitter, with “booing” racking up over 45,000 tweets during the game.
Reaction was swift on social media with many denouncing the boos.
Kansas City councilman Eric Bunch tweeted, “Some NFL fans booing the players for standing and locking arms in a moment of silent unity proves that for them the ‘standing for the flag’ was always about perpetuating white supremacy.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted, “We’re a city of good people. I heard boos too. But we also have hundreds of thousands more around here who respect the message the players are sharing; who respect the rights of our players and people to voice a strong message and who are working to make us better each day.”
Other fans and observers tweeted their disappointment.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley took issue with the backlash, tweeting, “Missouri has the best fans in the country. Don’t blame them for being tired of NFL/corporate woke politics hammed down their throats.”
The moment of unity came after a pregame dedicated to racial justice and ending racism.
The Chiefs locked arms at the end zone during a video against social justice and police brutality. They also stood together as Alicia Keys sang, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly known as the Black national anthem.
During the National Anthem, the team stood on the sidelines once more, many of them linked arms again. All but one player, Alex Okafor, stood.
The Texans remained in the locker room during both “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “The Star Spangled Banner” but came out onto the field for the moment of solidarity afterward.
“I thought Houston not coming out for the National Anthem of our Country – That’s what the boos were for,” Fans Brett and Nicole told FOX4 after the game. “The Chiefs, I thought they handled it with class, but I’m not a big fan of what Houston did.”
During warm ups, Chiefs players wore shirts that said, “Vote.” The words “End Racism” and “It Takes All Of Us” were inscribed in the end zones. The league allowed players to wear similar visuals on their helmets.
Racial justice has been at the forefront of the NFL since Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee to protest systemic racism and police brutality during the 2016 season.