Both coaches, Andy Reid of the Chiefs and the Texans’ Bill O’Brien, said they did not notice the booing, but the social media users and NFL players who did make the obsevation vented their frustrations about the reaction.
“I would LOVE to see an interview with someone—ANYONE—in the crowd who just chose to boo a ‘moment of silence and unity,’” ESPN correspondent Sarah Spain penned in a tweet. “Just try not to sound like a complete and utter idiot putting into words why you’re angry about UNITY.”
A third tweet from comedy writer NIck Jack Pappas read, “The Chiefs and Texans lock arms in a moment of unity. The fans react by booing. It wasn’t the National Anthem. It wasn’t even a protest. They booed ‘unity.’ This country is broken.”
After the game, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt told reporters he thought it was “unfortunate” there was booing during the moment of unity.
“I didn’t fully understand that,” Watt said. “There was no flag involved. There was nothing involved other than two teams coming together to show unity.”
According to Jack Easterby, EVP of the Texans, his team wanted to ensure there would be “no misinterpretation of them celebrating one song and throwing shade on the other.”
“We are very intentional; we are very specific of what we’re trying to focus on when it comes to social justice — and that’s trying to fight for true justice for Black and brown people being murdered by police and they’re unarmed,” Texans player Michael Thomas added. “And that’s by calling for the Senate to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to the Senate floor for vote.
“And today, going out for either anthem — to us, it would’ve been a distraction,” he continued. “And we just wanted to, again, make a decision as a team, and we decided it would probably be best if we all stayed in. And that’s the decision we made, and we were just going to go out there and play.”
Look below for the “moment of silence” and ensuing reactions to the boos in the background.