- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 15, 2017

You know the NFL take-a-knee protests have lost their oomph when even the San Francisco 49ers can only muster seven kneelers.

The San Francisco team has led the league in protesters — by a lot — in the last two weeks, with 30 players refusing to stand for the national anthem on Oct. 1 and then 23 on Oct. 8, which prompted Vice President Mike Pence to walk out of the game.

At Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, however, just seven players, all 49ers, took a knee on the sideline, while the rest stood.

Last week in Indianapolis, 20 players on the Niners knelt during the anthem, prompting a walk-out from Vice President Mike Pence. 

Fox Sports, which carried the game at FedEx Field on Sunday, did not broadcast the national anthem ceremony.

The protests peaked in Week 3 after President Trump suggested at a Sept. 22 rally that team owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who refuses to stand.

With the major exception of the 23 San Francisco 49ers, only a handful of players took a knee last weekend as the NFL grapples with fan outrage over the protests, which began last season in response to the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo last week that the league will consider a rule change at its Tuesday owners’ meeting to require players to stand for the national anthem.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said that he will bench players that kneel for the national anthem, while Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase said those who object to standing may remain in the tunnel or locker room.

The NFL has also seen its ratings decline this season amid the protests as well as some bad weather and lackluster games.

Matthew Paras contributed to this report.

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