Prior to kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium, the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs came together for a moment of unity in the fight against racial inequality. Players and coaching staff from both teams linked arms and stood in silence for the pregame gesture.
"It was a great moment because obviously we were getting ready to compete against one another," seventh-year safety Michael Thomas said. "There's a lot of stuff going on in this country that's bigger than us, bigger than this game and we wanted to at least take a moment to show that we understand what's going on and even though we are about to compete against one another, we can come together and say, 'We agree on this. We are together on this' and what's happening with systemic oppression and police brutality, that needs to stop and we agree on that. We wanted to use this big platform where we know millions of people are going to be watching and say hey, we support that and something needs to change. It's time for change."
Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, who have both been active in the NFL players' social justice message, communicated regularly about how to best show their solidarity in the fight against racism.
"We talked really until last night," Watson said. "We kept it up front he told us what they're going to do and I told him what we wanted to do and we got on the same page and we all knew what was going down and we just followed the lead. Both teams have respect for each other and just wanted to make sure we followed, as a team, what we wanted to do first and also get on the same page and not have surprises happen."
The Texans have a leadership group that consists of about 20 players that has met several times, according to head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien. Prior to the moment of unity, the team made the decision to remain in the locker room during the national anthem so as to keep the spotlight on the issues that need to be addressed.
"It's really not about the flag," O'Brien said. "It's about making sure that people understand that black lives do matter and that there is a system racism problem in this country and so that's what our players decided to do."
To find out more about what the Texans organization is doing to combat racial injustice, click here.