Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas, who took a knee several times last year during the national anthem, will be participating in a three week internship with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who has supported players who kneel and has taken a knee herself on the House floor in support of Thomas and other players.
Thomas has knelt on the sidelines in protest of the playing of the Star Spangled Banner for the past two NFL seasons. Lee also took a knee in September 2017 on the floor of the House in solidarity with the NFL players who claim they kneel to protest racism.
When President Trump tweeted criticism of those kneeling for the anthem in the 2017 football season, Thomas told reporters he did what he thought he needed to do to make a change.
“I've got a daughter, and she's going to have to live in this world. And I'm going to do whatever I got to do to make sure that she can look at her dad and be like 'Hey, you did something. You tried to make a change,'" Thomas said.
Thomas was quoted in a Miami Dolphins press release as being excited to get hands-on experience at a high level of politics, and to "connect with Congress in our ongoing efforts to create real change in our communities.
"It's not every day that you get hands-on experience at this level of politics," he said. "I am going to take this opportunity to learn as much as I can while representing those who may feel voiceless in our communities."
The NFL program is aimed at giving players a chance to see other lines of work in preparation for the end of their playing career.
Los Angeles Chargers center guard Cole Toner will work with Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann will work with Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill, according to a NFL Players Association press release.
This will be the fifth year that the NFLPA partners with companies for players to trade in football for other jobs.