Protests continue to roil communities in the wake of recent police-involved shootings. But as street demonstrations persist, protests involving the National Anthem continue to grow on professional football fields after San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel four weeks ago to show his frustration with racial injustice.  The movement is growing, with players from the US Women’s soccer team, high school teams, WNBA teams, even some cheerleaders, opting to kneel in solidarity.

NFL Players Association executive director George Atallah predicts this form of silent protest will continue to catch on.

“I think that as long as things don’t change in America I think you’ll see athletes across all sports and other citizens will continue to raise awareness around the injustices that are existing in our country. And I think that’s a good thing,” Atallah says.

See more: NFL Ravens Benjamin Watson “I’m Going to Stand with Pride”

But as some athletes are discovering, the anthem protests have a price. Kaepernick and other players are receiving death threats and losing endorsement deals. The NFLPA is standing by the players even in face of Roger Goodell suggesting that this form of protest may by less than patriotic.

“The very definition of patriotism is to stand up for what you believe in,” Atallah says. “We can’t expect our athletes to just shut up and play. They are members of our community. They’re citizens of this country and the have the exact same rights that you and I have.”

Watch Atallah’s full interview here.

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