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NFL Players Lock Arms, Kneel During National Anthem to Protest Trump

NFL players supported the movement started by Colin Kaepernick and joined a growing wave of sports stars to defy the president.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan links arms with players during the national anthem before the match against the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 24, 2017.

A spirit of unity swept the National Football League on Sunday as rival teams, players, coaches and even some owners and performers took a knee or linked arms — or even refused to take the field — to show opposition to President Donald Trump and support for the movement started by ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

 Trump fired the first shot of the morning, with tweets that called for NFL fans to boycott the league — an attempt to pressure team owners to discipline players who protest American racial and social issues during the national anthem.

 

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Baltimore Ravens players kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

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Tennessee Titans wide receivers Eric Weems (14) and Darius Jennings (15) walk to the field with arms linked after the national anthem, before a game against the Seattle Seahawks in Nashville.

Neither team was present on the field for the playing of the anthem. 

The Seattle Seahawks players released a joint statement on Sunday explaining that they also would not participate in the national anthem.

"We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country," the statement said. "Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our basic freedoms.

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Lincoln Financial Field during the national anthem prior to the game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia.

Owners and executives from nearly 20 sports teams — representing football, basketball and even baseball organizations — declared support for players, called for unity and emphasized freedom of speech and expression in a series of statements.

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Members of the Indianapolis Colts stand and kneel for the national anthem prior to the start of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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Keenan Robinson (57) and Brandon Marshall (15) of the New York Giants link arms during the national anthem before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia.

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The Chicago Bears lock arms for the national anthem prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The Steelers went a step further, announcing ahead of their match-up with the Bears that they would not leave their locker room for the national anthem — and they made good on that promise.

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Buffalo Bills players kneel during the American National anthem before a game against the Denver Broncos at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York.

 “President Trump’s remarks were divisive and disrespectful to the entire NFL community, but we tried to use them as an opportunity to further unify our team and our organization," Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula said in a statement. “Our players have the freedom to express themselves in a respectful and thoughtful manner and we all agreed that our sole message is to prove and to promote an environment that is focused on love and equality.”

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Tom Brady (12) locks arms with Phillip Dorsett (13) as he stands during the national anthem with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, Matthew Slater, second from right, and David Harris (45) before a game against the Houston Texans, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

 

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Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank joins arms with his players during the national anthem prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit.

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Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) and defensive end Chris Long (56) stand for the anthem prior to a game against the New York Giants.

Bill Streicher / Reuters

Jermaine Kearse (10), Josh McCown (15), acting owner Christopher Johnson and Jamal Adams (33) of the New York Jets lock arms during the national anthem prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

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The Cleveland Browns stand and kneel during the national anthem before the start of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Thomas J. Russo / Reuters

Justin Houston (50) of the Kansas City Chiefs kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers Mike Evans (13), and DeSean Jackson (11), take a knee during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

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Members of the Los Angeles Chargers link arms during the national anthem before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Philadelphia Eagles players, owner Jeffrey Lurie, center right, Eagles' President Don Smolenski, second from left, and a Philadelphia police officer, third from left, stand for the national anthem.

Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist next to Lurie. 

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Members of the Detroit Lions take a knee during the national anthem prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field in Detroit.

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Green Bay Packers players sit in protest during the national anthem prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field.

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Members of the Miami Dolphins kneel during the national anthem prior to the game against the New York Jets.

Robert Deutsch / Reuters

Denver Broncos tight end Virgil Green (85) gestures as teammate Max Garcia, left, takes a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills.

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