Kenny Stills
Kenny Stills was one of many NFL players to continue protests during the national anthem. In this picture, Stills #10 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates a play during a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Dec. 11, 2016. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

A number of players reportedly continued to protest during the national anthem Thursday as the first day of the NFL preseason commenced.

Amid the Colin Kaepernick protest controversy that began in 2016 as a response to racial discrimination and police brutality, the NFL announced a new policy in May that would penalize teams and players for protesting on the field during the playing of the national anthem. Instead, they would be allowed to remain in the locker room during the anthem.

However, the policy was put on hold last month when the players' union filed a grievance as the NFL and NFL Players Association look to reach a resolution.

And as per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both kneeled during the national anthem before their game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It was something I was going to do regardless if he [Stills] was there or not," Wilson said afterward. "But to have somebody as passionate about the situation as I am is great that we can do it together."

"I’m on a platform that I have the right to protest. It’s a peaceful protest. We’re not harming anybody. We just want people to continue to know what’s going on."

Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn, meanwhile, raised his fist during the anthem as he said he was creating awareness.

Malcolm Jenkins and De'Vante Bausby, both of the Philadelphia Eagles who were notably uninvited by President Donald Trump in June, also raised a fist as per accounts.

Defensive end Michael Bennett was seen walking out of the tunnel during the anthem and "spent the anthem walking toward the bench," while teammate Chris Long had his arm around Jenkins' shoulder during The Star-Spangled Banner.

In addition, Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon of the Jacksonville Jaguars all elected to remain in the locker room before coming out after the anthem ended.

The NFL have since responded with a statement, claiming although they will delay any discipline for players who protest during the anthem, they still expect personnel to stand for it.

"The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans," the statement read. "While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem."

"Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL’s policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room."

"We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."

Kaepernick meanwhile, tweeted in response to Stills and Wilson's protest, encouraging them to keep protesting against systemic oppression and to stay strong.

No team has signed Kaepernick since he opted out of his San Francisco 49ers contract in 2017, following his protests during the national anthem in preseason games in 2016.

He is currently suing the NFL in an ongoing case for alleged collusion in keeping him out of the league, and his case could be strengthened after EA Sports censored his name in two in-game songs in their Madden video game series.

The latest preseason protests come after Trump's recent controversial tweet about LeBron James, which Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry believes was rooted in racism.