BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Several NFL players have joined the Ravens and Jaguars in protest of the National Anthem during Sunday’s games, following comments made by President Donald Trump on Friday.
Speaking at a rally in Alabama, the president suggested that NFL owners fire players who kneel.
Former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick first raised the issue last August for his protests of the anthem in order to bring issue to social injustices he saw against black people and people of color in the U.S.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti responded on social media to the Ravens players decision to kneel:
When asked about the protest, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he agrees with Bisciotti’s statement.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS Sports that the team will not participate in the National Anthem prior to Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago. The Steelers remained in the locker room.
However, Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who’s an Army veteran, stood near the tunnel with his hand over his heart.
In Philadelphia, the Eagles and Giants made a statement on the issue before Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field.
CBS Philly reports players from both teams locked arms on their respected sidelines as the national anthem was performed. The show of solidarity came with a giant American flag spread across the field for the anthem performance.
Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie joined his players on the field along with General Manager Howie Roseman and Team President Don Smolenski.
In a statement on social media, Jeffrey Lurie said on Saturday night:
“Having spoken with our players, I can attest to the great respect they have for the national anthem and all it represents. We at the Philadelphia Eagles firmly believe that in this difficult time of division and conflict, it is more important than ever for football to be a great unifier.”
The Seattle Seahawks also released a statement, “As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem,” the statement reads.”We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.”
“We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.”
At New Era Field, the Bills’ LeSean McCoy knelt, then sat and stretched during the anthem a day after he caused a stir by tweeting, “It’s really sad man” and then used an obscenity to describe Trump.
Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly joined the team on the field during the anthem and held up his left hand while holding a Bills cap.
“As a president, you are supposed to lead,” McCoy said. “I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is acting like a jerk.”
More than half of the Broncos players, including Miller, safety Aqib Talib and receiver Demaryius Thomas, knelt on their side of the field.
Fans began to boo as the Bills players walked in unison onto the field. They stopped booing once the anthem began.
In Detroit, several Lions players knelt during the national anthem and linked arms with standing players, the coach and team owner.
Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford was among numerous owners to issue statements supporting the players’ right to protest.
After belting out “brave,” Lions’ anthem singer Rico Lavelle bent to his knee, bowed his head and raised a fist.
Some fans booed at Ford Field during the actions.
The Atlanta Falcons, who played against the Lions, also had some players kneeling and team members locking arms.
During the New Orleans Saints v. Carolina Panthers game, at least a dozen Saints players sat on the bench for the national anthem. None of the Panthers players on the sideline sat or kneeled in protest.
In Minneapolis, Buccaneers wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson each took a knee with a hand on their heart in front of the bench as the “Star Spangled Banner” played. Other Bucs players locked arms in solidarity.
Nobody was kneeling on the Vikings sideline, but many players also stood arm in arm, with owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf and general manager Rick Spielman joining them.
Right before the anthem played, about a dozen Vikings ran to the west end zone and knelt with their heads bowed, including Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
For the New England Patriots, Brandin Cooks was one of a group of Patriots players jeered as they stood locked arm in arm next to a group of players that knelt during the national anthem Sunday.
Cooks, in his first season with the Patriots, made clear his pregame demonstration wasn’t meant to disrespect the military. Cooks’ father, Worth Cooks, served in the Marines and died of a heart attack when his son was 6.
“It’s one of those things where you want to stand with your brothers, kneel with your brothers and be by their side,” Cooks said.
In addition Patriots players knelt or locked arms during the national anthem, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who’s been a strong supporter of the president, expressed “deep disappointment” with Trump in a statement. Texans owner Robert McNair also called the president’s comments “divisive.”
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