SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KTVU) - On the first NFL Sunday of the season, NFL players are once again getting attention for protesting during the National Anthem. Miami Dolphins Players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both took a knee.
Stills addressed the controversy after the game and said said support is only growing. Former 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick called the Dolphin players his brothers and offered thanks.
"To everybody out there thank you for reaching out, thank you for the positivity," Stills. "Let's keep doing our best to make positive change and have these conversations and make our country a better place."
Kaepernick sparked the anthem debate by kneeling in 2016. It was his way of protesting police brutality and social injustice. Nike sales are now up 31 percent after the company made him the new face of its ad campaign.
President Trump took digs on the nfl on Twitter and wrote, "Wow NFL first game ratings are way down over an already bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13 percent, the lowest in over a decade."
Katheleen Kusek is a consumer research consultant in the Bay Area and said the NFL concussion crisis and the fact millenials are less interested in team sports are factors in the drop in viewership.
"The NFL would be very lucky if these national athem protests were the only reason they had decline in the ratings," said Kusek. "The NFL ratings have been declining for years. Anecdotely, I think it's very difficult to find a football fan who has stopped watching the NFL because of the National Anthem protests."
Most fans echoed that sentiment.
"I think it's fantastic," said Rachel Swedish of San Francisco. "I think they need to keep doing it."
"I like it because it draws social awareness to key issues and this is also a platform," said Phillip Pham of San Francisco.
"You are paid a certain amount to perform your job and not distract and essentially it can be a distraction," said Gavin Lofstedt of San Francisco.
"It definitely doesn't make me want to watch football any less or any more," said Mike Peterson of San Francisco. "I love football as a sport and the fact that they are kneeling not kneeling doesn't change that in any regard."