×

NFL Players Kneel to Protest During Anthem in First Games Since Trump Remarks

UPDATED: NFL players took a knee or locked arms on Sunday during the national anthem in the first games since President Donald Trump attacked players for engaging in such protests and the league itself for supporting them.

The first show of support for NFL players took place in London at Wembley Stadium, as the Baltimore Ravens faced Jacksonville Jaguars. Among those who participated in the protest was Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who locked arms with tight end Mercedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith.

The Pittsburgh Steelers sat out the rendition of the national anthem in Chicago, where they squared off against the Bears. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and some staffers were the only ones on the field as it was sung while the players stayed in the locker room. One player, Alejandro Villanueva and a military veteran who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, stood near the entrance. The Bears players players locked arms during the national anthem.

Elsewhere, eight members of the Detroit Lions went on one knee as they linked arms with other teammates before their home game agains the Atlanta Falcons. The singer of the anthem at Detroit’s Ford Field went down on one knee as he was finishing.

The Steelers’ Tomlin earlier told CBS Sports that his team had decided not to participate in the national anthem ceremony before their game on Sunday in a show of unity. “People shouldn’t have to choose,” Tomlin said.

This comes as a reaction to a feud that ignited over the weekend between Trump and the NFL. On Friday, Trump told a rally in Alabama, “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!'”

The president’s comment referred to players who have kneeled during the national anthem as a form of protest of racial injustice in the U.S.

In a rare statement addressing a political issue, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Trump’s remarks “divisive,” and said they “demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

Trump escalated his demands on Sunday morning by calling for fans to boycott the NFL. “You will see change take place fast,” Trump tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended Trump’s remarks in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He proposed that NFL owners establish a rule about standing during the national anthem.

“Players have the right for free speech off the field,” he said. “On the field, this is about respect for lots of people.”

“If people want to talk politics off the field when they’re not working for the NFL, they have the absolute right to do that,” he added.

Several NFL players have been vocal on social media in reaction to Trump’s comments.

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, tweeted on Saturday, “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”

More Politics

  • Kamala Harris

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Face Rematch in Next Democratic Debate

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will have the opportunity to square off again in the second debate among Democratic hopefuls vying for their party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election CNN, which will broadcast the next round of debates on July 30 and 31, televised a draw Thursday night that decided [...]

  • Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Donate

    Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Join Hollywood's Buttigieg Bandwagon

    Pete Buttigieg has built a devoted following in Hollywood over the last few months, helping him lead the Democratic field in fundraising for the second quarter. In a filing released Monday night, Buttigieg disclosed contributions from a bunch of bold-faced names, including Jennifer Aniston, Tig Notaro and Larry David. Buttigieg held numerous fundraisers in the [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Bail Decision Delayed, More Accusers Coming Forward

    Jeffrey Epstein won’t find out if he’s going to be released on bail until July 18, even as prosecutors argued that the multimillionaire businessman presents a flight risk and could endanger his accusers unless he remains in jail. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday, Epstein’s legal team said their client is willing [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    FTC Approves $5 Billion Fine Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

    The Federal Trade Commission voted to fine Facebook around $5 billion for violations of the FTC’s consumer-privacy rules, according to multiple media reports — the biggest privacy-related fine in the commission’s history. The $5 billion figure may be a record-breaker, but it represents less than Facebook reported in net profit ($5.43 billion) for the first [...]

  • United States Secretary of Labor Alexander

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta Resigning Amid Epstein Controversy

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has tendered his resignation to President Trump after facing criticism for a plea deal he struck with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 after Epstein was charged with luring teenage girls to his mansion for sex. According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump made the announcement Friday, telling reporters that Acosta [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content