FOXBORO (CBS) — Unlike last weekend in the NFL, the number of players who took a knee during the national anthem was quite low on Sunday. But that didn’t mean that demonstrations did not take place on football fields around the country, and Gillette Stadium was no exception.
During the national anthem, all Patriots players stood side-by-side on their sideline, holding their right hands on their hearts and their left hands on their teammate’s shoulder.
The Panthers likewise all stood for the anthem, but quarterback Cam Newton waited until he made his way into the end zone before making his statement.
Newton rushed for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give his team a 30-16 lead over the Patriots.
Upon reaching the end zone, Newton politely pushed away a teammate to create some space for himself before raising a fist into the air and nodding his head.
“It was to signify Black Power,” Newton said after the game, which the Panthers won 33-30. “More importantly, I pray every night for God to give me a pinnacle to give people hope. I did it to raise … to show black pride, because I am an African-American. But more or less, I want all people just to see when I play, I want them to see the joy that I go out there and play with. Win lose or draw, it was a great win for us today. I just hope that I put a lot — or not I, [but] we as a team — put a lot of smiles on the beautiful people of the Carolinas.”
Both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were asked about the Patriots’ decision to stand together, unlike last week when several players took a knee during the anthem.
“I thought it was very well-thought out and I’m happy we responded that way,” Brady said.
“As a team, we do what we felt was best,” Belichick said when asked who made the decision. “So that’s what we did.”