Jabrill Peppers and Dalvin Tomlinson flanked head coach Joe Judge for the playing of the national anthem before Monday’s game against the Steelers. There is nothing unusual about that. The two players are captains.
But they were among the 19 or so Giants players who knelt during the song. And Judge, who stood between them, had a hand on each of their shoulders.
As the NFL embraced its new social and racial awareness, the Giants had plenty of players and coaches who partook in the protest against systemic racism and injustice. The Giants decided they would each act individually, and they did.
"Obviously, the conversation that’s been going on with what’s going on in this world, we wanted to try to find a way where we could help," Saquon Barkley said last week. "Yeah, the conversation of kneeling for the national anthem is a conversation that needs to be had, and it will be had… We want to have a focus that we want it to be team-oriented, where we find a way, which way we can do it in the right way and continue to still have an impact."
They were together shortly prior to that. Right after the Giants finished their pregame warmups, about 20 minutes before kickoff, they lined up along the goal line and stood side-by-side for the playing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who had been outspoken about the cause of racial justice, was in tears. The Steelers were in their locker room for the performance by Alicia Keys on video
The Giants warmed up in NFLPA t-shirts that were designed by former Giant Michael Thomas. On the front of the shirts were the words: "Injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us." On the back were just two words: "End Racism."
NOTES & QUOTES: WR Golden Tate (hamstring) was inactive. The veteran came into the game with a designation of questionable. His absence meant that Daniel Jones had still yet to play in a game in which all of his primary targets – Tate, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley – were available. It also left the Giants with just four receivers available to them in the game … The Giants added S Sean Chandler and OL Chad Slade to their active roster prior to kickoff. This year teams can increase their active roster from 53 to 55 players prior to games.