Sports NFL

How teams protested on 'Monday Night Football' and in every NFL game following Trump’s national anthem comments

Players from nearly every NFL team took a knee, linked arms, raised their fists or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem on Sunday after President Trump called on team owners to fire players who refuse to stand for the "The Star-Spangled Banner."

A total of 204 players protested during the anthem on Sunday out of the 1,696 players on National Football League active rosters, compared with six players the previous week, according to a team-by-team breakdown by the Associated Press.

The hashtag #TakeTheKnee trended on Twitter throughout the day, according to the New York Daily News.

The protests started more than a year ago when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the anthem as a protest of police treatment of minorities, according to the Associated Press.

"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 during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., on Friday night.

Trump continued his tirade on Twitter.

912018945158402049
911911385176723457
911904261553950720

In a prepared statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the president’s words “divisive.”

Here’s a look at how NFL players responded during every game on Sunday to Trump’s attacks:

Baltimore Ravens players kneel in protest during the national anthem at Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 24.
Baltimore Ravens players kneel in protest during the national anthem at Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 24. (Matt Dunham / Associated Press)

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars

From the Los Angeles Times:

NFL players provided their first physical response with the 6:30 a.m. PDT kickoff of the Baltimore-Jacksonville game at Wembley Stadium in London. Players on both teams either knelt or locked arms in solidarity. In that human chain on the Jaguars’ sideline was team owner Shad Khan, who had also donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Most Ravens players and coaches locked arms during “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Wembley Stadium. About 10 Ravens kneeled. They included wide receiver Mike Wallace, linebackers C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith, defensive tackle Carl Davis and defensive backs Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb and Anthony Levine Sr. Former Raven Ray Lewis, an honorary captain for the game, also took a knee during the anthem in between Mosley and Wallace.

From the Associated Press:

Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey took a knee.

“​A lot of guys were upset about the things President Trump said, were upset that he would imply that we can’t exercise our 1st Amendment rights as players. We were upset that he would imply that we should be fired for exercising those rights.” — Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson

“We stand with our brothers. They have the right to protest. We knelt with them today. Nonviolent protest is as American as it gets. We knelt with them today and let them know we are a unified front. There is no dividing us. I guess we're all sons of bitches.” — Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs

The San Diego Chargers link arms during the national anthem in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center.
The San Diego Chargers link arms during the national anthem in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

From the Los Angeles Times:

In Carson, where the Chargers were playing host to the Kansas City Chiefs, three Chargers sat on the bench and three more knelt during the anthem. There were a few catcalls of “Stand up!” from the crowd. The rest of the team had linked arms, including team Chairman Dean Spanos. Across the field, at least 10 members of the Chiefs were either sitting or kneeling, among them linebacker Justin Houston, who was kneeling on the bench with his back to the field.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

With standout players such as Melvin Ingram and Tyreek Hill among them, players with the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs joined the protest against police brutality and social injustice by differentiating themselves during the pregame national anthem on Sunday here at L.A’s stadium. Ingram, a defensive end, kneeled as teammates Casey Hayward and Adrian Philips raised their arms, hands clasped together. Five players sat on the bench: Chris McCain, Darius Philon, Brandon Mebane, Damion Square and Tenny Palepoi. Other L.A. players stood with arms linked. On the Kansas City side, several players kneeled, including Hill, an All-Pro returner/wideout/running back.

Philadelphia Eagles players and owner Jeffrey Lurie link arms during the national anthem before a Sept. 24 game against the New York Giants in Philadelphia. Malcolm Jenkins, next to Lurie, raises his fist.
Philadelphia Eagles players and owner Jeffrey Lurie link arms during the national anthem before a Sept. 24 game against the New York Giants in Philadelphia. Malcolm Jenkins, next to Lurie, raises his fist. (Matt Rourke / AP)

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

From the New York Daily News:

Landon Collins, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon knelt for the first time during Sunday’s national anthem at Lincoln Financial Field, and the rest of the Giants locked arms, including coach Ben McAdoo with Eli Manning and Geno Smith, in response to Donald Trump’s divisive comments. The Giants' owners were not on the sideline, but Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was on the Eagles' sideline participating and locking arms with his players.

"Comments like we heard last night from the president are inappropriate, offensive and divisive. We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society." — Giants statement

“People out there are going to hate us. At the end of the day, we respect our opinion and everyone has freedom of speech.” — Giants safety Landon Collin

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi wears a T-shirt in support of Colin Kaepernick before a Sept. 24 game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.
Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi wears a T-shirt in support of Colin Kaepernick before a Sept. 24 game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. (Al Diaz / Miami Herald / Associated Press)

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Most of the Miami Dolphins stood for the national anthem before Sunday’s 20-6 loss to the New York Jets with arms locked, and with team owner Steve Ross linked into the human chain. There were also a handful of players, including Jay Ajayi, Kenny Stills, Laremy Tunsil and Julius Thomas, who knelt during the anthem. Numerous Dolphins players also wore T-shirts that read “#IMWITHKAP” during the team’s pregame warmups as a response to the remarks by President Donald Trump.

From the New York Daily News:

No Jets players kneeled, but acting team owner Christopher Johnson and staff linked arms and tweeted a photo with the message “Unity.” Johnson’s brother, Woody Johnson, was named ambassador to Britain by Trump and yielded his duties as owner to Christopher.

“As a man, as a father, as an African American man, someone in the NFL who is one of those ‘sons of bitches,’ yeah, I took it personal. I’ve got a daughter who is going to have to live in this world. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to make sure she can look at her dad and say he did something to make a change.” — Dolphins safety Michael Thomas

“The comments being made by our president are being used to scare us, to intimidate us. We’re allowed to [protest]. It wasn’t meant to be divisive.” — Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills

“I stood for my rights. I took a knee. If he doesn’t respect us, how can we respect him.” — Dolphins offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil

Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears

From the Associated Press:

The Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the tunnel except for one player, Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who stood outside with a hand over his heart.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Bears players stood along their sideline, most of them with their arms interlocked in a show of unity.

"We're not going to play politics. We're football players. We're football coaches. We're not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from this 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. So we're not participating today. That's our decision. We're going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game." — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin

Several New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem before a Sept. 24 game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass.
Several New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem before a Sept. 24 game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Mass. (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

Houston Texans at New England Patriots

From the Associated Press:

Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady was among the New England Patriots who locked arms in solidarity in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Even team owners who donated millions of dollars to Trump’s presidential run publicly rejected his comments. “I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president,” said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a close friend of Trump who contributed $1 million to his inauguration.

“We hate that people are going to see it as that we don’t respect the military and the men and women that are way braver than us that go and put their life on the line every day for us… But, we just wanted to send a message of unity and being together and not standing for the disrespect and different ways guys felt." — Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty

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 game against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 24.
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 game against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 24. (Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

From the Associated Press:

About 35 players, including about half of the Broncos' roster, protested during the anthem.

From the New York Daily News:

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy stretched during the song. “I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is just acting like a jerk,” McCoy said.

"I just wanted to show them that I was with them today, especially in the backdrop of our president making the comments about our players, about their mothers. And then you put that in conjunction with how he tried to gray-area Nazism and KKK members as being fine people, I had to take a knee." — Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander

Officials stand on the sideline before a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans. Neither team came out onto the field for the anthem.
Officials stand on the sideline before a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans. Neither team came out onto the field for the anthem. (Mark Zaleski / Associated Press)

Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans

From the Associated Press:

Both the Seahawks and Titans stayed inside until after the national anthem was over in Nashville, a throwback to the pre-2009 NFL when teams, not the league, set pre-game policy regarding players standing on the sideline for the anthem. National anthem singer Meghan Linsey took a knee as she finished singing.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

About 12 players, including Saints running back Adrian Peterson, protested during the national anthem.

"I'm disappointed in the comments that were made. I think we need a little bit more wisdom in that office. I want that guy to be one of the smarter guys in the room and it seems like every time he's opening up his mouth it's something that is dividing our country and not pulling us together." — Saints coach Sean Payton

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

In Detroit, national anthem singer Rico Lavelle took a knee at the word "brave," lowering his head and raising his right fist, according to the Associated Press. About 10 players, including Lions running back Ameer Abdullah, protested during the anthem.

Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers locked arms with his teammates, according to the Associated Press. No Bengals protested during the anthem.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

At least two players, including Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, protested during the anthem, according to the Associated Press.

Members of the Indianapolis Colts stand and kneel for the national anthem prior to the start of a Sept. 24 game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Members of the Indianapolis Colts stand and kneel for the national anthem prior to the start of a Sept. 24 game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

About 24 players on the Colts and Browns protested during the national anthem, according to the Associated Press.

Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins

From the Associated Press:

Dozens more players protested before the Raiders-Redskins game, the final one of the day and not far from the White House in Landover, Maryland. All but a handful of Raiders sat on their bench and seven Redskins took a knee while their teammates stood arm-in-arm along with owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen.

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Cowboys, joined by team owner Jerry Jones and his sons, interlocked arms and walked about 10 yards toward the middle of the field on “Monday Night Football.” They then took a knee collectively and were loudly booed. They then stood in unison, unlocked arms and returned to the sideline where they stood for the duration of the anthem. The Cardinals, joined by owner Michael Bidwill, lined the back of an end zone and linked arms with members of the military.

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers hosted the Rams on Thursday night before the controversy erupted over Trumps’ remarks.

The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Florida Sun-Sentinel and San Diego Union-Tribune contributed to this report.



UPDATES:

10:05 p.m.: This article was updated with details from the Monday Night Football game.

This article was originally published at 4:20 p.m.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
80°