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The New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions stand for the national anthem before the game on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD

The New Orleans Saints followed the same protocol on Sunday for the national anthem that the team agreed to do before the Miami game in London, kneeling in protest of racial inequality before the anthem and then standing during the anthem itself. 

Fans in the Superdome began booing while the players knelt before the anthem, and then the stadium's announcer asked for a moment of silence in tribute to Marcus McNeil, the New Orleans policeman who was shot and killed early Friday morning. 

Sean Payton indicated Monday that the Saints did not realize there would be a moment of silence and the decision to take a knee was a continuation of the team's decision in London, not connected to the tribute to McNeil. 

"You had a triangular effect of misunderstanding," Payton said. 'It was very simple. No. 1, the players were going to kneel and stand for the anthem, that's understood. Then No. 2, there was a moment of silence for the slain officer, and everyone realized, let's have a moment of silence. I don't think it was anything more than that."

Fans continued to boo loudly during the moment of silence. 

Payton does not believe the Saints were booed for the act of kneeling; he believes fans started booing because they thought some players might be on a knee during "The Star Spangled Banner."

For the second straight game, every Saint rose for the playing of the national anthem. 

"I think it was an initial reaction by the fans that some players might be on a knee for the anthem," Payton said. "I heard it on the radio coming in and thought, Oh here we go. It was easy to see what happened."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.