NFL national anthem protest: 3 Dolphins kneel on Monday Night Football

Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas kneeled during the national anthem tonight. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

MIAMI GARDENS–Three Miami Dolphins players continued their season-long demonstration by kneeling during the national anthem for tonight’s nationally televised game against the Patriots.

Wide receiver Kenny Stills, tight end Julius Thomas and safety Michael Thomas all took a knee behind their standing teammates on the sideline as retired Naval Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson sang the Star-Spangled Banner. Michael Thomas has kneeled since the start of the year, and Julius Thomas and Stills started in Week 3. Stills also kneeled last season.

The only interruption to their protest, which is a statement against social and racial injustice in the United States, came when coach Adam Gase implemented a rule in October mandating that all players stand for the national anthem or remain off the field. That changed about a month later, when the players asked Gase to lift the ban and allow them to maintain their pre-game routine.

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Despite going against the wishes of Gase and owner Stephen Ross, who said in October it was time for players to stand, Stills is a team captain and was the organization’s nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year. He is wearing a Man of the Year sticker on his helmet for the remainder of the season.

The winner among the 32 nominees will be announced Feb. 3, and that player will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of his choice as well as another $250,000 to Character Playbook. Two other finalists will get two donations of $100,000 as outlined for the winner, and the rest will get donations of $50,000.

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