Eric Reid #35 and Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the anthem, prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2016.
Eric Reid (35) and Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the anthem, prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2016.Michael Zagaris—San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
Eric Reid #35 and Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the anthem, prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sept. 12, 2016.
USA's Megan Rapinoe, right, kneels next to her teammates as the US national anthem is played before an exhibition soccer match against Netherlands in Atlanta, Sept. 18, 2016.
Philadelphia Eagles players Steven Means (51), Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Ron Brooks (33) raise their fists in the air during the national anthem for a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 19, 2016.
Denver Broncos inside linebacker, Brandon Marshall (54), kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Colorado on Sept. 8, 2016.
The Indiana Fever kneel during the National Anthem before the game against the Phoenix Mercury during Round One of the 2016 WNBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Sept. 21, 2016.
Miami Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills kneel during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle on Sept. 11, 2016.
Phoenix Mercury's Kelsey Bone, right, and Mistie Bass, second from right, kneel during the playing of the national anthem before the start of a first round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis, Sept. 21, 2016.
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, right, raises his fist during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Sept. 18, 2016.
Members of the Washington varsity alumni marching band kneel as they hold a giant American flag during the playing of the national anthem before an NCAA college football game between Washington and Rutgers in Seattle on Sept. 3, 2016.
Eric Reid (35) and Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the anthem, prior to the game against th
... VIEW MORE

Michael Zagaris—San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
1 of 9

See Athletes Around the Country Protest During the National Anthem

Sep 22, 2016

It all started when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem ahead of NFL preseason football game. Since that Sept. 1 game, the gesture—one that aims to peacefully protest racial injustice—has spread to the sidelines of other NFL teams, to the soccer pitch and to high school fields. One school band even knelt during its performance of the anthem at a baseball stadium in Oakland, Calif. Variations of the knee have also taken hold, with players locking arms or raising a fist during the national anthem. Viewed by some fans—who think the gesture is an unpatriotic rejection of the nation itself—as an act of disrespect or defiance, Kaepernick has ignited a heated debate about the definition of patriotism in America.

Here, TIME has selected photographs of athletes—from the football field with Colin Kaepernick to the soccer pitch with Megan Rapinoe— as they protest racial injustice.

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.