several NFL players took a knee or locked arms on Sunday during the National Anthem of the first game since President Donald Trump began his crusade against such protests.
The game between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars took place Wembley Stadium in London. Among those who participated in the protest was Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who locked arms with tight end Mercedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith.
This comes as a reaction to a feud that ignited over the weekend between Trump and the NFL. On Friday, Trump told a rally in Alabama, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: ‘Get that son of a b— off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
The president’s comment referred to players who have kneeled during the National Anthem as a form of protest of racial injustice in the U.S.
In a rare statement of a political issue, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Trump’s remarks “divisive,” and said they “demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”
Trump escalated his demands on Sunday morning by calling for fans to boycott the NFL. “You will see change take place fast,” Trump tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”
Several NFL players have been vocal on social media in reaction to Trump’s comments.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, tweeted on Saturday, “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”