The Pittsburgh Steelers remained within the locker room in the course of the nationwide anthem and greater than 100 NFL gamers from a number of groups kneeled or locked arms nationwide, hours after NFL Sunday kicked off with an identical protest in London criticizing President Trump’s remarks towards the league’s gamers.
NFL Sunday started with members of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens both taking a knee or locking arms because the U.S. nationwide anthem was sung at London’s Wembley Stadium, the primary recreation since Trump launched his assaults towards gamers who knelt through the patriotic music.
Those that weren’t kneeling, together with the coaches on each groups and Jaguars proprietor Shahid Khan, locked arms in the course of the nationwide anthem on the recreation in London’s Wembley Stadium. The gamers then stood up for “God Save the Queen,” the British anthem.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been additionally noticeably absent on the sector in the course of the nationwide anthem earlier than their recreation with the Chicago Bears. Coach Mike Tomlin stood by himself on the sideline. Tomlin had stated earlier than the sport that Pittsburgh’s gamers would stay within the locker room and that “we’re not going to let divisive occasions or divisive people have an effect on our agenda.” Tomlin added that the Steelers made this selection “to not be disrespectful to the anthem however to take away ourselves from this circumstance. Individuals shouldn’t have to decide on.”
Most groups within the early afternoon video games locked arms in solidarity. At the least three group house owners joined their gamers. A number of New Orleans Saints gamers sat through the nationwide anthem. The Jaguars tweeted a photograph shortly after the group’s defiant message with the caption: “Unity.” Ravens proprietor Steve Bisciotti launched a press release posted on Twitter after the incident, saying: “We acknowledge our gamers’ affect. We respect their demonstration and help them 100 %. All voices have to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest type.”
The show marked a tumultuous weekend between the NFL and Trump, who referred to as the gamers kneeling throughout “The Star-Spangled Banner” disrespectful. Trump took notice of the incidents initially of the video games on Sunday.
“Nice solidarity for our Nationwide Anthem and for our Nation. Standing with locked arms is sweet, kneeling is just not acceptable. Dangerous scores!” Trump tweeted.
He wrote earlier on Twitter: “If NFL followers refuse to go to video games till gamers cease disrespecting our Flag & Nation, you will notice change happen quick,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Hearth or droop!”
“…NFL attendance and scores are WAY DOWN. Boring video games sure, however many keep away as a result of they love our nation. League ought to again U.S.,” he tweeted.
Trump’s criticism started on Friday throughout a rally in Alabama when he referred to as for gamers to be fired who disrespect the American flag.
“Would not you like to see certainly one of these NFL house owners, when someone disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b —- off the sector proper now? Out! He is fired! He is fired,'” Trump stated to the gang.
His feedback drew sharp criticism amongst skilled athletes and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Divisive feedback like these show an unlucky lack of respect for the NFL, our nice recreation and all of our gamers, and a failure to know the overwhelming drive for good our golf equipment and gamers characterize in our communities,” Goodell stated.
Goodell introduced on Twitter Sunday that a video titled, “Inside These Strains” will air throughout Sunday night time’s recreation as an indication of unity within the league.
Trump stood by his phrases on Saturday when he rescinded Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry’s invitation to the White Home this spring to honor his group’s 2017 NBA championship. He then instructed that NFL gamers who kneel in the course of the patriotic track must be fired.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the controversial motion final yr when he refused to face throughout “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest police brutality towards the African-American group. Kaepernick has since grow to be a free agent, however he has not but been picked up by any workforce.
Quite a lot of gamers wore shirts throughout warmup Sunday that stated “#IMWITHKAP” in help of Kaepernick.