Even 2 Anthem Singers Took a Knee at NFL Games

More than 200 players didn't stand
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2017 3:06 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2017 6:21 AM CDT
1 in 8 NFL Players Didn't Stand for the Anthem
Singer Meghan Linsey takes a knee at the end of her performance before an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday.   (Austin Anthony/Daily News via AP)

If NFL team owners obeyed President Trump's call to fire players who protested during the national anthem, they would now be looking for more than 200 players. After Trump's remarks, the AP counted over 200 players kneeling, sitting, or raising their fists at Sunday's games. That's up from just six players last week and accounts for an eighth of the league's 1,696 players, with one more game to go on Monday. The Seahawks, Titans, and almost all of the Steelers didn't take the field for the anthem. "Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country," Trump tweeted. "NFL should change policy!" A roundup of coverage:

  • Even two anthem singers took a knee in protest ahead of Sunday's games, reports People. Rico Lavelle took a knee after his performance in Detroit at the Lions-Falcons game, as did The Voice runner-up Meghan Linsey before the Titans-Seahawks game in Nashville.

  • The America First Policies group, which has close ties to Trump, is planning a social media ad campaign urging people to "turn off the NFL" for "disrepecting" the country. Viewers should choose something that "honors the great men and women who make sacrifices to protect our freedom," a draft version of an ad shared with BuzzFeed states.
  • There was no sign of any anthem protest at a NASCAR event at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, USA Today reports. Some team owners who spoke to the press said they would fire any employee who protested the national anthem, though Andy Murstein of Richard Petty Motorsports says he wouldn't fire anybody for expressing their opinion.
  • "Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country," Trump said in another tweet after players and team owners at some games stood with their arms locked during the anthem. "Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable." Players and team officials, however, say they locked arms to show support for protesting players, not Trump, the New York Times notes.
  • Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., was among many people who responded to Trump's remarks by sharing photos of the civil rights leader and hundreds of others kneeling during a protest in 1965, the Washington Post reports. "People didn't approve of the way my father protested injustice either," she tweeted.
  • In an opinion piece at Slate, singer John Legend argues that the protesting players are actually very patriotic. With their calls for racial justice, they are showing their "allegiance to the ideals that are our nation's founding principles, which many heroes have given their lives to defend," he writes.
  • The protests drew a very mixed reaction from fans at the games and on social media, the New York Times reports. Many said they supported neither the anthem protests nor Trump's call for firings.
  • The New York Daily News looks at the last time Trump clashed with the NFL, which was in 1985, when he owned the United States Football League's New Jersey Generals. It "wasn't pretty."
(An owner close to Trump was among those condemning his remarks Sunday.)

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