Numerous players took a knee during the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore Ravens’ game in London this morning in direct response to President Trump’s remarks that the NFL should fire players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Reporters have suggested that we will see more players kneeling in upcoming games in an act of both defiance and solidarity.
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President Trump stirred up the NFL after speaking at a rally Friday night in Alabama. He continued this weekend by tweeting, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Fire or suspend!”
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on social media Sunday morning that their entire team will remain in the locker room during the National Anthem, an event that hasn’t happened in over 10 years.
NFL owners have come out in droves to express their disappointment in the president’s opinion. Jaguars owner, Shad Khan, locked arms with some of his players during the anthem while several players on both sidelines kneeled. The Jaguars had announced on social media that they would be showing “unity” in some fashion at the start of the game.
All-star quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers stated he will be kneeling with his teammates during the anthem Sunday as well.
At the end of Jacksonville’s game Sunday, reporters spoke to tight end Marcedes Lewis, who linked arms with the Jags’ owner during the anthem. Lewis explained that he, along with others on the team, were angered by Trump’s statement but acknowledged that he didn’t feel sitting during the anthem was appropriate as his grandfather is a Purple Heart veteran.
NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell fired back at Trump in a statement citing that the president’s remarks were “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 wrote.
It’s important to note that after kneeling during the National Anthem, players on both teams stood for the British National Anthem, God Save the Queen. It’s unclear if Trump’s comments may have inadvertently made things worse, but we can probably expect to see an increase in kneeling players in upcoming games.