New Orleans Saints Knelt Before, Then Stood During National Anthem in London

The National Football League’s co-opting of Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest about adverse conditions black citizens and other people of color face into a gesture about unity and solidarity came full circle Sunday, as the New Orleans Saints opted to kneel prior to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Saints collectively rose with locked arms once the singing of the national anthem began as they squared off in an exhibition game in London against the Miami Dolphins. 

Saints quarterback Drew Brees confirmed the gestures would take place days before as he made the announcement via Twitter September 29.

“As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem [and] stand together during the anthem,” Brees tweeted.

Three Miami Dolphins players—Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas—continued to kneel as the national anthem was sung in Wembley Stadium Sunday.

“I think it’s a good combination of showing unity and also paying tribute to the actual reason why everybody’s taking a knee,” Saints defensive back Kenny Vaccaro told ESPN. “It has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, disrespecting the military.”

Don’t expect to see any additional live anthem coverage on Fox Sports, which has television rights to NFC Conference NFL games. The network announced last week’s practice of airing live footage during the anthem will end.

“As we have in previous broadcasts of NFL games from London, Fox will show the National Anthem as well as God Save the Queen live,” a statement from Fox read in part. “As is standard procedure, regionalized coverage of NFL game airing on FOX this Sunday will not show the National Anthem live; however, our cameras are always rolling and we will document the response of players and coaches on the field.”

More from Complex

Suddenly Woke Ray Lewis Roasted for Taking a Knee During the Ravens-Jaguars Game in London

Retired NFL linebacker Ray Lewis was seen on video kneeling (presumably in some form of peaceful protest against President Trump’s recent comments) during Sunday’s regular season contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

For those who don’t remember, Lewis had one of the more interesting hot takes on free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in early September, during what most would consider the Baltimore Ravens’ clumsily handled flirtation on signing Kaepernick.

After Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti essentially said he was crowdsourcing opinions from fans and Lewis on whether or not to sign Kaepernick, Lewis weighed in on Kaepernick’s 2016 decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem.

“And I’ve said this many times, we both agree, like, what he did, I’m 100 percent for racial justice, 100 percent,” Lewis said during a July appearance on Fox Sports’ Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. “Trust me, I lived it myself. So you don’t have to convince me of that part. How he did it? Totally different thing. I don’t totally agree with that.”

Once the Ravens officially passed on signing Kaepernick, Lewis told Judy Batista of Inside the NFL, part of the reason the team opted not to sign Kaepernick was because of a racially-charged tweet by radio personality Nessa “Ness Nitty” Diab, who is also Kaepernick’s girlfriend.

“Then, his girl [Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn’t know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed,” Lewis said. “Steve Bisciotti has said it himself, ‘How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?’”

As it relates to Kaepernick, the crux of “how he did it” was kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. So the pertinent question for Lewis is, if he didn’t totally agree with Kapernick’s form of protest, why did he mimic that exact same form of protest Sunday?

While players from the Jaguars and Ravens opted for taking a knee, standing with interlocking arms, or placing a hand on the shoulder of kneeling players, plenty of Twitter users were quick to hop in Lewis’ mentions for joining in what is shaping up to be #TakeAKnee weekend in the NFL.

It probably doesn’t help that Lewis paid an early visit to Trump’s transition offices shortly after the reality show host became Commander-in-Chief. 

Sunday provided yet another reminder that Twitter never forgets, and given how wildly some NFL pundits were talking about Kaepernick last season, it’s perfectly logical to expect even the most casual of viewers to hop in their collective mentions in the wake of Trump’s comments.

More from Complex

U.K. Police Suspect Terrorism in Buckingham Palace Sword Attack

The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism branch is currently classifying Friday night's police attack as an act of terrorism, after a suspect drove his vehicle at police officers outside Buckingham Palace and reached for a four-foot sword.

According to multiple reports, the suspect drove a blue Toyota Prius at a marked police vehicle. The officers used 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile gas, commonly referred to as CS gas, to subdue the suspect. He reportedly reached for a four-foot long sword and yelled “Allahu Akbar” while being tackled by officers. The standoff left three of the officers injured.

“It was quickly declared a terrorist incident last night,” Metro Police Counter Terrorism Commander Dean Haydon said during a press conference Saturday. “That’s due to the location. It was outside Buckingham Palace. The individual deliberately drove at police officers. He was in possession of a four-foot sword. Officers were injured during the incident.”

The suspect is a 26-year-old man from the Bedfordshire town of Luton and currently remains in police custody in London. Buckingham Palace was put on lockdown Friday night after the incident, and Saturday it was revealed that the suspect was being held under the Terrorism act as well as suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assault on police.

U.K. Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Theresa May publicly thanked the officers in a series of tweets for “acting quickly and bravely to protect the public.”

Friday’s attack comes just over one week after a man purposely drove into a crowd in Barcelona, Spain and left 13 people dead and over 100 others injured. On August 21, Spanish authorities confirmed they killed the driver identified in the Barcelona attack as 22-year-old Moroccan national Younes Abouyaaqoub.

More from Complex

London on da Track Teams With Nicki Minaj, Offset, & 21 Savage for “No Flag”

On Wednesday night, Nicki Minaj hinted that she had some big news to reveal. “Who's gonna be up in 3 hours?” she asked at around 8 p.m.

When the appointed time finally came, Minaj's big secret turned out to be an announcement of a new song. She let fans know that at 7 p.m. on Thursday, a new song by producer London on da Track called “No Flag” featuring her, Offset, and 21 Savage would be released. She went on to share a snippet:

Now, the appointed moment is finally here. You can check out “No Flag” over at Tidal or stream it below via Spotify.

Nicki has been extremely productive as of late. Her long-awaited video for the Katy Perry collaboration “Swish Swish” finally came out on Thursday morning, and she has two more songs in addition to “No Flag” dropping this week: “You Already Know” with Fergie, and the Tasha Cobbs Leonard collab “I'm Getting Ready.”


More from Complex

adidas Originals Launch the ‘EQT Creator Studio’ Pop-Up This Week in London

The pop-up studio is celebrating essentialism across art and culture.

Rita Ora Goes Sneaker Shopping

Pop star Rita Ora is an international sensation, and she's one of the biggest sneakerheads in the industry. Rita met up with Joe La Puma at Stadium Goods in New York City for the latest episode of Sneaker Shopping, and she talked about how deep her roots go in footwear, from working retail to landing her own major collaboration.

Growing up in London, Rita worked at international sneaker boutique Size?, and in the episode she talks about how her and her friends used to be the cool girls at the shop, blasting her music, and hooking her friends up with sneakers. Rita then goes on to talk about her love for Air Jordans from an early age, and how things came full circle for her when she landed her own sneaker deal with Adidas, something that resulted in over 15 different collections. In the end, she spends over $2,200 on a mix of new sneakers.

More from Complex

Floyd Mayweather Apologizes for Using Homophobic Slur Against Conor McGregor

On Thursday, Floyd Mayweather offered up a formal apology to Conor McGregor for calling him a “faggot” at the fourth (and final) press conference they held last month.

A rep for Mayweather said the 49-0 boxer has “nothing against gays or lesbians at all” following the presser where the slur was uttered, which took place in London. At the same time, Mayweather claimed that he directed the word at McGregor after his rival called him a “monkey” off-mic at a press conference earlier in the week.

“There are certain boundaries you just don't cross,” he said off the cuff from his gym on Thursday. “In the press tour when I said something toward lesbians or gays when I said something toward him. I apologized, but him calling us monkeys, you have to realize, we went through years and years of up and down. Black Americans went through a lot. But I'm a strong individual. We live and we learn and hopefully after Aug. 26th, he won't be speaking that same language.”

This particular apology is at least the second of its kind this week, as he also expressed his regret to Stephen A. Smith earlier. “I spoke on disrespect,” he said to Smith. “Like I said before, it’s certain boundaries we just don’t cross. It’s OK if he wants to say certain things. Even in the press tour when I said something, I didn’t want to be negative towards lesbians or gays when I said something to him. So, I apologize.”

You can catch the bout between the pair of megalomaniacal fighters Aug. 26.

More from Complex

Listen to Rising Rapper Trapo’s Smooth “Love Me Anyway”

Young Madison, WI rapper Trapo is one of the most versatile rising artists out right now. For his new song “Love Me Anyway,” he enlists London duo Two Another, who are known for their soulful pop and R&B sound. The mix of styles works perfectly, with Trapo gliding over the funky production for a smooth love song.

Trapo dropped his debut album Shade Trees last year and this new song has us excited for whatever he has planned for 2017. “Love Me Anyway” is out now on all platforms. Listen on Apple here and via Spotify below.

More from Complex

French Airport Worker Allegedly Punches EasyJet Passenger Holding a Baby

EasyJet, a European budget airline, has become the latest airline to have to go into damage control after getting dumped on, following an incident where someone on their ground staff popped a passenger in the face who also happened to be holding a baby. (Though, frankly, the narrative of this story could have just as easily been passenger holding baby shoves airport worker since The Sun had video showing what appeared to be just that moments prior to the punch. A lot of our media brethren seemed to have not watched or made any sort of note of that). 

Additionally, The Sun notes that a witness told them the worker had earlier knocked the same man's phone out of his hand after he had tried to take a picture of him (which is probably what that hand wave was).

The blow went down at Nice airport in France, and allegedly occurred after the passenger complained about a flight delay for their trip to London that was anywhere between 11 and 13 hours (depending on who you believe). Arabella Arkwright, who shot the below picture and posted it to Twitter, said “It was awful the whole thing. I just can't believe people can behave like that.” Sounds like she's new to budget airlines:

Arkwright went on to tell CNN that her husband restrained the employee while waiting for police to show up. The man who was on the receiving end of the punch was initially taken away but was allowed to go back to the flight when it eventually took off. Arkwright adds that the dude had a visible mark from the altercation on his face.

As for EasyJet, they denied that the worker was employed by them. Instead they stated that his checks were written by a subcontractor named Samsic:

The airport also did their best to nip this as closely to the bud as possible. 

Nice Airport confirms the altercation last night between a passenger and an agent of a subcontracting company. The police was called immediately and took in charge both of them,” they said in a statement on Facebook. “Whatever the circumstances, the airport management firmly condemns this incident and has immediately asked that this staff member to be suspended. The images of the CCTV cameras were transmitted to the DDPAF which will determine after investigation the exact circumstances and the follow-up to this incident.”

On that note the employee reportedly was suspended. Not exactly a shocking revelation…but a pertinent detail nonetheless. 

More from Complex

Floyd Mayweather Might Pull Off Ultimate Troll Move When He Walks to Ring for Conor McGregor Fight

Over the course of the last few months, Conor McGregor has managed to turn trolling Floyd Mayweather into a science. He has figured out all sorts of different ways to troll the undefeated boxer, and he has, up until this point, owned Mayweather in their ongoing war of words. But could Mayweather pull off the ultimate troll move just minutes before the two fighters get into the ring on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas?

Love & Hip Hop star Jason Lee—who is a TMT member and who once conducted a really insightful interview with Mayweather for his Hollywood Unlocked show—spoke with TMZ Sports on Tuesday and suggested that Mayweather might have something up his sleeve. It seems Lee is from Stockton, California, the hometown of McGregor’s UFC rival Nate Diaz. So when Mayweather walks out to the ring for his fight with McGregor, Lee said he might have someone in his entourage that McGregor won’t want to see.

“Listen, I don’t know, but I’m from Stockton, California and I was just in London with Floyd when the whole shit went down with Conor,” Lee said. “And I’m gonna make a call to Nate Diaz. I would love to see him walk out with Floyd.”

Lee didn’t definitively say that Mayweather will bring Diaz out to the ring with him. But if he did decide to do it, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. Back in December, Mayweather FaceTimed with Diaz to trash talk McGregor and shared a video of it with the world. And Mayweather has also gotten into the habit of trying to troll his opponents during his ring entrances in the past. Who can forget when he showed up for a fight with Oscar De La Hoya like this?

Mayweather hasn’t spoken on the idea of him bringing Diaz out to the ring with him for the McGregor fight just yet. But Diaz looks like he would be down. He himself has trolled McGregor on social media on several occasions in recent weeks:


Little bitches 🖕🏼👋🏼 Got your ass beat You lost bitch . Im the champ…

A post shared by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on Jul 9, 2017 at 8:13pm PDT

Whether Mayweather ultimately decides to ask Diaz to escort him to the ring or not, Lee said that there’s one TMT member who probably won’t be walking Mayweather out. TMZ Sports asked him if there’s been any talk about asking Justin Bieber to do the honors, like he has in the past. Lee said it’s not going to happen.

“Nah, Bieber found Jesus and he’s somewhere prayed up,” he said.

Lee also made it sound like Bieber might not really be down with TMT anymore, even though he stopped short of confirming it.

“I don’t want to officially say that,” he said. “I just want to say I don’t see Bieber walking out with Floyd.”

You can check out Lee’s full TMZ Sports interview in the clip above.

More from Complex