Here Are the Highest Paid NFL Players Who Protested the National Anthem on Sunday

Justin Houston, who signed a $101 million contract in 2015, takes a knee during the National Anthem / Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images


Players on teams across the National Football League chose to protest the national anthem on Sunday after President Donald Trump spoke out against those who "disrespect the flag" during a Friday rally in Alabama.

Trump asked the crowd whether they would like to see a team's owner fire a player for disrespecting the flag, and "get that son of a bitch off the field."

Trump followed up his criticism on Twitter the next morning, calling the ability to make "millions of dollars in the NFL" a privilege.

Some of the league's highest paid players were among the ones that decided to protest the country during the national anthem. Here are some of them, along with their average annual salary on their current contract:

Denver Broncos' Von Miller, $19 million


Von Miller and other Denver Broncos players kneel during the American National Anthem / Brett Carlsen, Getty Images


Buffalo Bills' LeSean McCoy, $8 million


LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills takes a knee during the national anthem / Bryan Bennett, Getty Images


New England Patriots' Devin McCourty, $9.5 million, Stephon Gilmore, $13 million


New England Patriots kneel during the National Anthem / Jim Rogash, Getty Images


Los Angeles Chargers' Melvin Ingram, $16 million


Melvin Ingram of the Los Angeles Chargers kneeling during national anthem / Jeff Gross, Getty Images


Buffalo Bills' Marcell Dareus, $16.1 million


Marcell Dareus of the Buffalo Bills kneels during the American National anthem before an NFL game against the Denver Broncos

Marcell Dareus of the Buffalo Bills kneels during the American National anthem before an NFL game against the Denver Broncos / Getty Images


Kansas City Chiefs' Justin Houston, $16.8 million


Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs seen taking a knee during the National Anthem / Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images


Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce, $9.4 million


Kansas City Chief Travis Kelce kneels during National Anthem / Jeff Gross, Getty Images


Tampa Bay Buccaneers' DeSean Jackson, $11.2 million


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson take a knee during the national anthem / Hannah Foslien, Getty Images


Miami Dolphins' Kenny Stills, $8 million


Miami Dolphins kneel during the National Anthem prior to losing to the New York Jets / Steven Ryan, Getty Images

Among high-paid players who protested the anthem not by kneeling but rather by refusing to take the field at all were Russell Wilson ($21.9 million) and Richard Sherman ($14 million) of the Seattle Seahawks as well as Ben Roethlisberger ($21.85 million) and Antonio Brown ($17 million) of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive lineman who makes $6 million a year, was the only member of the Steelers who took the field for the national anthem. Villanueva is an Army veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan.

Villanueva has been honored by the United States with the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, the Bronze Star Medal for overseas service, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and Expert Infantryman’s Badge, according to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brent Scher   Email Brent | Full Bio | RSS
Brent Scher is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied foreign affairs and politics.

Get the news that matters most to you, delivered straight to your inbox daily.

Register today!
  • Grow your email list exponentially
  • Dramatically increase your conversion rates
  • Engage more with your audience
  • Boost your current and future profits