NFL

Several NFL teams are participating in solidarity actions in response to President Trump’s comments about players who kneel during the national anthem.

While not every player participated, there were dozens of players on multiple teams who chose to kneel during the singing of the national anthem prior to the kickoff of several games on Sunday afternoon. As of 1:20 PM Sunday, the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars all elected to quietly demonstrate during the national anthem:

During the matchup in London between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens, players on both teams took a knee. Even former Ravens player Ray Lewis, who once publicly demanded his former team blackball former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during his original national anthem protest, took a knee with his fellow players:

Even the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Shahid Khan — who once donated $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural fund — locked arms in solidarity with his players during the anthem.

Roughly a dozen players for the New England Patriots, who won the Super Bowl last year and visited the White House, knelt together during the anthem. Patriots owner Robert Kraft — a friend of Trump — condemned Trump’s insulting of NFL players who kneel in a public statement on Sunday, and defended players who chose to protest.

Rather than kneel, nearly ten New Orleans Saints players remained on the bench during the singing of the national anthem. And before the game between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills, players for both teams knelt in solidarity.

Perhaps the highest rate of participation came from the Cleveland Browns, with a photo showing approximately 20 players kneeling during the anthem. Even the players who stood had their hands on their teammates’ shoulders, showing support for their protest despite not taking part.

Even the singer of the national anthem took part in the protest prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions. At the end of the song, the singer took a knee and put a fist in the air:

Prior to the national anthem that precluded the game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, several Dolphins players were spotted doing warm-ups in shirts that read “#IMWITHKAP,” in reference to Kaepernick, who was the first player to kneel during the national anthem and openly declare that he did it in protest of police officers getting off scot-free for killing black people.

On Sunday morning, President Trump, seemingly sensing that there would be multiple demonstrations during the anthem, doubled down on his calls for team owners to “fire or suspend” players who protested, and blasted the NFL for attendance and ratings being “WAY DOWN.”

This article will be updated if additional players protest during Sunday’s late afternoon and evening games.

 

Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in Inkster, Michigan.

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