Written By Sam Ekstrom (ColdOmaha.com)
Photo Credit: Kyle Hansen
In a stranger than fiction subplot to Sunday’s regular season finale, two protesters, Karl Zimmerman and Sen Holiday, per a series of tweets from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, rappelled from a beam behind US Bank Stadium’s north end zone and unfurled a banner with US Bank’s logo and the single word “DIVEST.” Beneath it was the hashtag #NoDAPL, in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Tough to concentrate on game right now with absurd banner situation behind end zone. Guy just dangling there. pic.twitter.com/T62NB6Sm95
— Sam Ekstrom (@SamEkstrom) January 1, 2017
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a pending project in North Dakota that would transport thousands of gallons of oil per day but could endanger the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It has been a divisive issue over the past several months.
Security cleared seven rows of seats underneath the protesters to prevent injuries if the protesters were to fall. Policemen and emergency medical personnel rushed through the press box during the second quarter and, as of halftime, were “actively working to get them down safely,” per a release from stadium officials.
Statement from US Bank Stadium commission pic.twitter.com/p2ginewopq
— Brian Murphy (@murphPPress) January 1, 2017
Police waited until after the game to remove the protesters, who hung from the rafters for three quarters. FOX chose not to show the banner or address the situation on television, while players and coaches claimed to have very little understanding of the situation. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he hadn’t heard about the protest when asked after the game. “What protesters?” he said. “I swear to God I didn’t see them.”
Chad Greenway said he didn’t notice until after halftime. “When I saw it, that was bizarre. I didn’t know what was going on. I tried to continue to focus on what we had to do.”
According to multiple reports, the two men will be brought to jail and charged with trespassing.