The Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the locker room during the national anthem and over 100 NFL players from several teams kneeled or secured arms nationally, hours after NFL Sunday kicked off with a similar protest in London criticizing President Trump’s remarks against the league’s gamers.
NFL Sunday started with members of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens either carrying a knee or shoulder arms since the U.S. national anthem was sung at London’s Wembley Stadium, the first game because Trump launched his attacks against players who knelt during the patriotic tune.
Those who were not kneeling, including the coaches on both teams and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, locked arms at the game in London’s Wembley Stadium. The players stood up for “God Save the Queen,” the British anthem.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were also absent on the field during the national anthem before their game with the Chicago Bears. Coach Mike Tomlin stood on the sideline by himself. Tomlin had said that Pittsburgh’s that & ldquo; rsquo & we; re not going to let our agenda affects and players could remain in the locker room. ” Tomlin added that the Steelers made ldquo & this choice;not to be disrespectful to the anthem except to remove ourselves. Folks shouldn’t need to choose. ”
Teams in the early afternoon games locked arms. At least three team owners joined their players. Several New Orleans Saints players sat during the national anthem. The Jaguars tweeted a photo after the team’s defiant message with the caption: “Unity. ” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti published a statement posted on Twitter after the incident, saying: “We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices will need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form. ”
The display indicated a tumultuous weekend between the NFL and Trump, who called the players kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” disrespectful. Trump took note of the incidents at the beginning of the games on Sunday.
“Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!” Trump tweeted.
He wrote previously on Twitter: “If NFL fans refuse to go to games before gamers stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Fire or suspend! ”
“…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.,” he tweeted.
Trump’s criticism began on Friday during a rally in Alabama when he called for players to be fired who disrespect the American flag.
“Wouldn’t you like to see one of those NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b — off the field right now? Out! He’s fired! He’s fired,’” Trump said to the crowd.
His comments drew sharp criticism among professional athletes and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Divisive comments such as these show an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great sport and all of our players, and a failure to comprehend the overpowering force for good our clubs and players represent within our communities,” Goodell said.
Trump stood by his words on Saturday when he rescinded Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry’s invitation to the White House this spring to honor his team’s 2017 NBA championship. He then suggested that NFL players who kneel during the patriotic song should be fired.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the controversial movement last year when he refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest police brutality against the African-American community. Kaepernick has since become a free agent, but he has not yet been picked up by any team.
A number of players wore shirts during warmup Sunday that said “#IMWITHKAP” in service of Kaepernick.
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