The Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room during the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Dozens of NFL players from several teams kneeled or locked arms at games nationwide just hours after a similar protest in London during the national anthem there.
Members of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens either took a knee or locked arms as the U.S. national anthem was sung at London’s Wembley Stadium. Several other teams, including the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots kicked off their games at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also announced earlier on “NFL on CBS” his team will not participate in the national anthem before its game Sunday.
“We’re not participating [in the national anthem] today. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance.” Tomlin added, “That’s our decision. We’re going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game and that’s our intentions, and we’re going to play and play to win.”
In London, those who were not kneeling, including the coaches on both teams and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, locked arms during the national anthem at the game in London’s Wembley Stadium. Players taking a knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
The players then stood up for “God Save the Queen,” the British anthem. Seems quite hypocritical…
The Jaguars tweeted a photo shortly after the team’s defiant message with the caption: “Unity.” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti released 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 need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.”
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 24, 2017
The display marked a tumultuous weekend between the NFL and Trump when the President called for players to be fired who disrespect the American flag.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody 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.
Sunday’s game in London was the first one since Trump’s criticism.
Thirteen other NFL games are scheduled to take place on Sunday, with many players expected to kneel during the national anthem. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will take the field Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, posted a photo on Instagram of him and other players kneeling before the Ravens and Jaguars game kicked off.
“#unity #brotherhood #family #dedication #love,” he captioned the photo.
Trump’s comments drew sharp criticism among professional athletes and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who called Trump’s remarks “divisive.”
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in 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 NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the patriotic song.
What do you think of this new widespread protest against Trump’s NFL comments? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!