The NFL has returned. Some things were different: Only 17,000 fans were allowed into Arrowhead Stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in the stands was required to wear masks, and socially distance to prevent the spread of the virus.
And some things were the same: The Houston Texans remained in their locker room during a pre-recorded national anthem and emerged from the tunnel at its conclusion. Players and coaches from both the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans interlocked their arms at the 50-yard line during what was supposed to be a moment of silence.
Throughout that entire process, boos from those 17,000 bellowed loudly throughout the display of unity. “End Racism” was written in the back of the end zone, but the boos from fans echoed another sentiment.
The Kansas City organization had already prohibited fans from wearing headdresses or war paint to highlight cultural sensitivity.
Yet, boos, were the story in the one-sided affair in the dominant showing by the reigning Super Bowl champions and MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
"We had a few player meetings and let everybody know that we had their back," Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. "You know, you can go ahead and whatever you feel is the right decision in your heart, you have your brother's back, and you have your brother's support on this team. We made sure everybody was comfortable in that area."
Three-time Defensive Player of the Year and Texans defensive end, J.J. Watt, shared his sentiments about the fan booing.
"The moment of unity I personally thought was good. The booing was unfortunate in that moment," Watt said after the Chiefs emerged with a 34-20 victory. "I don't fully understand that. There was no flag involved, there was nothing involved with that besides two teams coming together to show unity."
There isn’t much to understand, which was spelled out on social media by analysts and players.
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