While the Hall of Fame game was played last weekend, Thursday night was the real start to the 2018 NFL preseason.

With the start of the new year, we saw the same protests on the sidelines. Several players took a knee, raised a fist or did not take the field while the national anthem was played during Thursday night’s preseason games.

The actions came just weeks after the league announced that it was putting its new policy regarding conduct surrounding the anthem until they and the Players Association come to an agreement.

Media outlets around the country were on watch to see who was going to protest when the anthem was performed.

The Miami Herald reported that Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the anthem while WTVJ Miami said that Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist during the anthem.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the playing of the anthem and headed to the team bench. The Daily News reported that Eagles captain Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback De’Vante Bausby raised their fists./p>

In the Jacksonville Jaguars game against the New Orleans Saints, several Jags were not on the field during the anthem with some of the bigger names being Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon.

The NFL Network televised the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants game which saw ten Giants kneeling in unison in the end zone prior to the anthem being played.

With a dozen games on the docket Thursday, it was not immediately known how many different protests had gone down.

The controversy surrounding the anthem protests has been going on since 2016 when then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.

Kaepernick took to Twitter on Thursday night to applaud the action of two players who protested.

The debate ratcheted up a notch last year when US President Donald Trump said kneeling players were showing a “total disrespect for our country.”

After two seasons full of protests and the president calling the league out over the protests the NFL said it would fine teams who have players protesting. Teams were also notified that they could, at their discretion, enforce pregame anthem observations in their own ways.

After a lot of confusion, the NFL decided to recall its new policy and put it back on the drawing board and to consult with the players association.

Due to the demonstrations on Thursday, the NFL released the following statement:
"The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans. While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.

"Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL’s policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.

"We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."

What is your take on it, should NFL players be allowed to protest by kneeling, raising a fist or staying in the locker room during the anthem or should they just stand on the sidelines with everybody else and protest in other ways? Let us know in the comment section below.