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After Trump's Twitter criticism of the NFL, celebs #TakeAKnee in solidarity

Stevie Wonder, left, takes a knee "for the country" with his son, Kwame Morris, before performing at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park on Sept. 23. (Michael Noble Jr. / Associated Press)
Stevie Wonder, left, takes a knee "for the country" with his son, Kwame Morris, before performing at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park on Sept. 23. (Michael Noble Jr. / Associated Press)

What began as a peaceful protest by Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 football season ballooned into so much more over the weekend after President Trump took aim at the NFL and sparked a full-blown movement.

Celebrities offered a groundswell of support in the 48 hours after the president chastised NFL owners for not punishing players who opted to kneel during the national anthem, in silent  protest over racial inequality in America.

"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,'" Trump said Friday at an Alabama rally for Republican Sen. Luther Strange.

If that weren't enough sports-related controversy, the president also uninvited the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the White House — after star Stephen Curry stated he didn't want to attend the traditional ceremony — invoking not just the scorn of LeBron James, but resulting in the Warriors opting out altogether.

The president fired off 17 sports-related tweets over the weekend, and the country took notice. #TakeAKnee trended on Twitter for much of the weekend. And it wasn't just NFL players getting involved.

Saturday night, music legend Stevie Wonder took a knee while performing at the Global Citizen Festival in New York, and delivered a prayer for the world.

"Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” Wonder said as he held on to his son, Kwame Morris, who knelt next to his father. “But not just one knee; I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe. Amen."

Eddie Vedder (Amy Harris / Invision / Associated Press)
Eddie Vedder (Amy Harris / Invision / Associated Press)

Wonder repeated the gesture Sunday night at the Concert for Charlottesville, where he was joined in the symbolic protest by musician Dave Matthews.

At the same Charlottesville fundraiser, Pharrell Williams dropped to his knees and stated, "I’m in Virginia right now, I’m home. Can’t nobody tell me what to do if I want to get on my knees right now."

Eddie Vedder also took a knee Sunday while performing during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tenn.

John Legend took the movement global on Sunday, posting a photo on Instagram showing him kneeling during a concert in Hamburg, Germany, fist raised in solidarity.

As teams across the NFL locked arms and knelt during the national anthem Sunday, three performers of the patriotic song went so far as to engage in the symbolic gesture at the end of their performances.

Before the Atlanta Falcons-Detroit Lions game in Detroit, Rico Lavelle took a knee as he finished the song.

Meghan Linsey, a runner-up on "The Voice," and guitarist Tyler Cain also knelt during the final note of the anthem during their performance before the Seattle Seahawks-Tennessee Titans game in Nashville.

The president on Monday tweeted several thoughts about the weekend's events, including a celebration of fans who booed players that knelt during the anthem.

"Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!" Trump tweeted of individuals who jeered through the national anthem.

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