FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Standing erect and still on the sideline at midfield, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton began his day here at Gillette Stadium with his eyes closed as the national anthem was sung. All the other players, too, stood in silence.

Later, in the fourth quarter of a close game, Newton pushed and bulled his way into the end zone, then leapt to his feet, bowed his head to his chest and raised a clenched left fist above his head, an echo of the black pride salutes that emerged in the 1960s.

“It was to signify black power,” Newton said after the game, “but more important, I pray every night for God to give me a pinnacle to give people hope.”

In that moment, Newton found a way to make it about football and make it about more, offering a gesture directly related to race, as teams across the league sought to strike a balance between evocative demonstrations before or during the anthem and getting on with the game.

The gestures across the league were more subdued and sporadic than they were last Sunday, when scores of players knelt or clenched arms during the anthem after President Trump tore into the league and players who kneel during the anthem to protest racism and police brutality. He said anybody who did not stand during the anthem was disrespecting the flag and country, and should be fired.

Colin Kaepernick, then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, had instigated the demonstrations last season when he began sitting, and then kneeling, during the anthem. This week, in the most striking display, about half the 49ers’ players and coaches on his former team knelt, while their teammates stood behind them, hand over heart, during the anthem before playing the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz.

But in other cities, for the most part, any kneeling occurred before the anthem.

The Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers all took a knee as a team before the national anthem, and then stood during the song. The Ravens said they did so in prayer for equality and justice, but some fans still booed.

One of the fans angered by the Ravens’ gesture was Rob Morningstar of Essex, Md., who wore a shirt covered in stars and stripes. He walked out of the stadium after the anthem in disgust. So his message would not go unnoticed, his friend designed and printed 125 signs that read, “THIS SEAT INTENTIONALLY LEFT VACANT #standfortheanthem” to leave behind.

“I’m just asking for two and a half minutes of your time for special people like my father, who got a purple heart in Korea,” said Morningstar, who also left the Ravens’ game last weekend when some players on the team knelt. “My dad had seven kids, and we came close to being zero kids, know what I’m saying?”

Here, the New England Patriots, who are owned by Robert K. Kraft, a friend of President Trump’s, stood with their right hands over their hearts and their left hands on their teammate’s shoulder.

Several players on the Panthers, who are owned by Jerry Richardson, one of the last owners to release a statement responding to Trump’s attacks last week, had met with Richardson midweek to iron out differences over demonstrating.

Newton’s raised fist reflected a desire by some players to express themselves but to avoid doing so during the anthem.

“I thought it was cool,” said Newton’s teammate Julius Peppers. “We wanted to take this out of the national anthem because that’s obviously a little contentious. Cam did it on his own time — that’s what everybody wants, right?”

Newton, who threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one in a 33-30 victory over the Patriots, added: “For two or three hours during a sporting event, we know that a lot of people from different ethnicities and cultures come together. Unity is something that’s going to cure a battered mentality in this country.”

Whatever discussions during the week, the Panthers decided in the end to stand for the anthem.

“We talked about it as a team, and over all, the sense we had was that whatever we do, we would do it as a team,” said Carolina tight end Ed Dickson. “It was big when President Trump came out and said all that last week. This week was going about our business.

“Guys want to individually do their own thing,” he added. “But as a team we want to go and show our support for the people that represent the flag.”