On Thursday afternoon, hours before the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos would kick off Week 6 of the NFL season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that before every NFL game, there would be a moment of silence held “following last week’s terrorist attack on Israel.”
Before kick-off of the Thursday night game, an announcer addressed the crowd, saying, “Last week, we witnessed a horrific attack in Israel. We mourn the lives lost in the massacre, including many Americans. And we pray for innocent civilians in the Middle East who continue to be in harm’s way. The NFL, the Chiefs, and the Broncos ask that you join us in a moment of silence.”
Many players themselves appeared hesitant about weighing in publicly. Following the Miami Dolphins win over the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Dolphins star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa did speak about the war in his postgame presser.
“I didn’t really realize how bad things were in Israel and just wanted to bring to attention, you know, for those who don’t necessarily understand things that are going on that it really is bad… my thoughts, my prayers are out with those people in Israel.”
Former NFL star Tom Brady, who was the quarterback for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a record seven Super Bowl victories during his two-decade career, released a statement on his Instagram that likewise condemned the attacks — but he also acknowledged the thousands of Palestinians killed thus far in Gaza.
“There should be no gray area about condemning Hamas terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens,” he wrote. “No human deserves this. I’m heartbroken for all the innocent lives lost in Israel and Gaza this week, heartbroken for the losses that are sure to follow.”
The NFL’s moment of silence was in response to brutal mass attacks on Israelis by Hamas on Oct. 7, which Israel responded to by bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip and cutting off food, aid, fuel, water, and electricity from the already impoverished so-called “open-air prison” of 2 million Palestinians walled in by Israel.
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“The situation in southern Gaza has grown increasingly dire,” the New York Times reported. “Israel has blocked basic necessities from reaching the enclave in response to the surprise Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. The attack killed 1,400 people in Israel. The two million residents of Gaza are suffering amid limited electricity and dwindling food and water, and hospitals are struggling to treat the rapidly growing number of wounded and ill.”
“Israel’s assault has killed at least 2,750 people and injured more than 9,700 in Gaza, Palestinian officials say,” according to CNN.
Many U.K. NFL fans who watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the Tennessee Titans in a game played in London on Sunday started a chant of “Free Palestine” during the moment of silence.
Recent LMU graduate Dominic Freitas, a Palestinian-American football fan, felt the way the NFL recognized the conflict was one-sided.
“It doesn’t feel great by any stretch of the imagination — was I shocked? No. I think it’s cowardly to be honest…. I understand it, I don’t respect it.”