Scores of NFL stars kneel in defiance of Trumpby Richard Bailey 24/09/2017 20:09:00 0 comments 1 Views
- NFL players used the national anthem to show their defiance to President Donald Trump's criticism on Sunday
- At least 130 players across the country either knelt or sat during the anthem in protest
- Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars players were the first to take a knee in defiance in London on Sunday morning
- At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates
- Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline and remained in the locker room during the anthem
- Trump had called for fans to boycott the NFL in a series of tweets early Sunday
- He said fans should stop going to games until players stop 'disrespecting our flag and country'
- His two day rant targeting top professional athletes brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike on Saturday
- Last week across the entire NFL, only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised
By Abigail Miller and Emily Crane For Dailymail.com and Associated Press
Published: 07:37 EDT, 24 September 2017 | Updated: 20:09 EDT, 24 September 2017
NFL players have defiantly reacted to President Donald Trump's criticism, with at least 130 players kneeling, sitting linking arms, giving black power salutes and not even showing up for the national anthem out of protest.
Players from both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars were the first to protest by taking a knee ahead of their game at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday morning. No players were kneeling during the playing of God Save The Queen - the British national anthem.
The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with an unprecedented number of players kneeling and most teams in the early afternoon games locking arms in solidarity.
At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates.
Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline and remained in the locker room during the Star Spangled Banner. Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, was the only Steelers' player to stand outside the tunnel for the anthem.
The protests from each team came in the wake of Trump's critical remarks toward players who don't stand for the anthem. Last week across the entire NFL, only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised.
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Baltimore Ravens players took a knee during the national anthem at Wembley in London on Sunday just hours after Donald Trump continued his growing feud with athletes
Jacksonville Jaguars players were spotted kneeling during the U.S. national anthem before the match on Sunday
The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with at least 20 Patriots players kneeling and many of their teammates, including Tom Brady, locking arms in unity in Houston, Texas
Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon after at least 130 players protested during the national anthem
Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks walked onto the field arm in arm as members of the crowd booed.
The President took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon following the protests, tweeting: 'Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!'
'Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag - we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!'
Later in the afternoon Trump gave an impromptu press conference from the tarmac at Morristown Municipal Airport - where he arrived to board Air Force One and head back to DC after a weekend in Bedminster.
He addressed the controversy over athletes kneeling to say his criticism has 'nothing' to do with race.
'This has nothing to do with race. I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag,' he told reporters.
During the conference he also doubled down on calls for players who protest the flag to be fired, saying: 'It's very disrespect to our flag and to our country, so I certainly think the owners should do something about it.'
When asked about Robert Kraft's comments, Trump said he thought it was 'okay' that the Patriots owner was disappointed in him, saying: 'He has to take his ideas and go with what he wants.
'I think it's very disrespectful to our country. I think it's very disrespectful to our flag.'
On Sunday the owner, who has previously been forward about his friendship with the president, said the comments 'deeply disappointed' him.
Trump had earlier denounced the kneeling protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two day rant that targeted top professional athletes and brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike on Saturday.
Early Sunday morning, Trump continued his Twitter tirade and called for an NFL boycott.
'If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!' Trump tweeted.
'...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.'
Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined his players on the field on Sunday in London and was spotted linking arms with them in a show of unity. Khan was among the owners who donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration.
'It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem,' Khan said, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said he '100 percent' supported his players' decision to kneel.
'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,' he said.
The anthem singer at the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons game ended his performance of the Star Spangled Banner by kneeling and raising his fist in the air.
New Orleans Saints players sit on the bench ahead of their against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina
Several Indianapolis Colts' players took a knee ahead of their game against the Cleveland Browns
A handful of Miami Dolphins were spotted kneeling during the anthem while their remaining teammates locked arms in unity
Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline (above on the right) during the anthem and only ran out onto the field when it ended
Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The sideline was empty (above) while the anthem played
Ravens players took a knee on the Wembley turf after Trump said sportsmen who 'disrespect America' should be 'fired'
More than 20 Cleveland Browns' players took a knee ahead of the game against the Indianapolis Colts
Philadelphia Eagles players and personnel stood by linked arms during the anthem before their game against the New York Giants
Detroit Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant (97), defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) take a knee alongside their teammates
The Houston Texans stand with their arms linked in solidarity ahead of the game against the Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had earlier said his team would not be present on the field for the anthem prior to Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.
'We're not going to play politics. We're football players, we're football coaches,' he told CBS Sports' Jamie Erdahl. 'We're not participating in the anthem today - not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.
'People shouldn't have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn't be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn't be separated from his teammate who chooses not to.'
A handfull of Miami Dolphins players were spotted wearing t-shirts that read '#IMWITHKAP' during pregame warm-ups in support of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Trump's comments in a Friday night speech and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a 'bum.'
Trump started by announcing that Curry, the immensely popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams after Curry indicated he didn't want to come.
Later, Trump reiterated what he said at a rally in Alabama the previous night - that NFL players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired. Curry has since broken his silence, saying it was amazing how NBA players had rallied around each other.
'That's what this is about,' Curry told the Washington Post. 'I commend and applaud everyone that's spoken up. That's what we are supposed to do. It's really important.'
HOW EACH NFL TEAM PROTESTED AGAINST TRUMP:
Pittsburgh Steelers: Stayed in their locker room until after the anthem.
Baltimore Ravens & Jacksonville Jaguars: Two dozen players took a knee, while remaining players and Jaguars owner Shad Khan remained locked arm-in-arm.
New Orleans Saints: More than a dozen players sat during the anthem.
Denver Broncos: More than half the team knelt during the anthem
Buffalo Bills: A handful of players either sat or knelt.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson knelt with the rest of the team locking arms.
Minnesota Vikings: The team locked arms during the anthem. While no Vikings were spotted taking a knee during the anthem, at least a dozen players sprinted into one end zone and took a knee with head bowed, before the crowd was asked to stand.
New England Patriots: At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates.
Miami Dolphins: Players linked arms as a team, including owner Stephen Ross. Four players also took a knee. Several players also wore '#ImWithKap' T-shirts during warm-ups.
Philadelphia Eagles: Players locked arms with servicemen. Two players also raised their fists.
Atlanta Falcons: The entire team locked arms as two players took a knee.
Cleveland Browns: At least 20 players took a knee and all teammembers linked arms.
Chicago Bears: The Bears did not kneel but many did link arms.
Indianapolis Colts: Several players took a knee while the majority linked arms.
Houston Texans: Players linked arms alongside each other.
New York Jets: The players all linked arms.
Buffalo Bills: Several players knelt for the anthem, while others stood behind them with their hands on their shoulders.
Detroit Lions: Eight players took a knee in protest. The anthem singer took a knee after singing and raised his fist.
New York Giants: They linked arms but for the first time had players kneel during the anthem.
Seattle Seahawks: Whole team hose to stay in the locker room while the anthem was being performed
Tennessee Titans: Whole team also opted to stay in the locker room
Trump retweeted a series of tweets regarding the NFL protests regarding the national anthem
Jaguars owner Shad Khan (above) joined his players on the field on Sunday and was spotted linking arms with them in a show of unity. He donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration
Former player Ray Lewis took a knee alongside Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (left) and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (right) on Sunday. Lewis has previously spoken out against players kneeling during the anthem
Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi warms up before the game against the New York Jets wearing a t-shirt supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick
Trump's comments in a Friday night speech in Alabama (pictured above) and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes
Several NFL players, starting last season with then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have either knelt, sat or raised fists during the anthem to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice. Last week at NFL games, four players sat or knelt during the anthem, and two raised fists while others stood by the protesters in support.
'That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,' Trump said, encouraging owners to act. He added: 'Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired.'
On Saturday, Trump echoed his stance.
'If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,' Trump tweeted. 'If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!'
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell strongly backed the players and criticized Trump for 'an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL' while several team owners issued similar statements.
Trump started by announcing that Curry, the immensely popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams
Several NFL players, starting last season with then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (center), have either knelt, sat or raised fists during the anthem to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice
New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said the comments were inappropriate and offensive. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who has supported the players who have knelt, said the country 'needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness,' and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York ripped Trump's comments as 'callous.'
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - who has been a strong supporter of Trump - said he was 'deeply disappointed by the tone' of the president's comments. Rex Ryan, former coach of New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, said he was 'p****d off' over Trump's comments.
Plenty of other current and former stars from across sports weighed in Saturday. Richard Sherman of Seattle Seahawks said the president's behavior is 'unacceptable and needs to be addressed.'
In his Friday remarks, Trump also bemoaned what he called a decline in violence in football, noting that it's 'not the same game' because players are now either penalized or thrown out of games for aggressive tackles.
'No man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights,' DeMaurice Smith, the NFL Players Association executive director, said Saturday. 'No worker nor any athlete, professional or not, should be forced to become less than human when it comes to protecting their basic health and safety.'
Tom Brady took to Instagram Sunday morning to post a photo with the caption: 'Strength. Passion. Love. Brotherhood. Team. Unity. Commitment. Dedication. Determination. Respect. Loyalty. Work'
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers followed Brady's Instagram post with a similar one