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LATEST: At least 100 NFL players kneel or sit in protest

By The Associated Press

This article was published September 24, 2017 at 12:37 p.m.

12 p.m.

NFL players used the national anthem to show their defiance to President Donald Trump's criticism, with at least 100 players kneeling or sitting in protest and one team staying in the locker room.

Most teams in the early afternoon games locked arms in solidarity. At least three team owners joined their players.

More than 100 players sat or knelt, the form of protest started last season by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick is now a free agent, and supporters believe teams have avoided signing him because of his protest.

The Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room as the national anthem played before their game with the Chicago Bears. Coach Mike Tomlin stood by himself on the sideline.

How each team would observe the national anthem emerged as the center of attention on this NFL Sunday in the wake of Trump's critical remarks toward players who don't stand for the anthem.

Tomlin had said before the game that Pittsburgh's players would remain in the locker room and that "we're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda." Tomlin added that the Steelers made this choice "not to be disrespectful to the anthem but to remove ourselves from this circumstance. People shouldn't have to choose."

11:40 p.m.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a tweet that the league will re-air a unity television advertisement Sunday night that it first ran during February's Super Bowl.

The one-minute spot called "Inside These Lines," will be shown during the Sunday night game between the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

Over images and video of NFL players embracing one another on the field, the narrator says "Inside these lines, we don't have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination."

Goodell said that President's Trump's remarks about the NFL demonstrated "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL."

11:13 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, coach Mike Tomlin has told CBS.

The move was apparently in reaction to President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners fire players who kneel for the national anthem.

Several players from the Jaguars and Ravens decided to kneel in the first NFL game of the day in London. Then Tomlin said his players would not be on the sideline at Soldier Field in Chicago for the anthem.

11:12 p.m.

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagilabue called President Donald Trump's comments on NFL players "insulting and disgraceful."

Tagliabue, who was in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a guest of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, spoke to the media before Carolina's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"For me to single out any particular group of players and call them SOB's, to me, that is insulting and disgraceful," Tagliabue said. "So I think the players deserve credit for what they do. And when it comes to speech they are entitled to speak. And we are entitled to listen. We are entitled to agree or disagree. But we're not entitled to shut anybody's speech down. Sometimes you don't like what you hear and that is true in life in lots of contexts, but you can't shut people down and be disgraceful when you are doing it."

Richardson is not making a statement on the Trump's remarks, per team spokesman Steven Drummond.

10:45 a.m.

A handful of Miami Dolphins players are wearing black T-shirts supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick during pregame warm-ups.

The shirts have "#IMWITHKAP" written in bold white lettering on the front.

Kaepernick was the first athlete to refuse to stand during the national anthem as a protest. This season, no team has signed him, and some supporters believe NFL owners are avoiding him because of the controversy.

Among the players sporting the shirts before their game against the New York Jets are wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Jay Ajayi and offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James. Stills, also a team captain, posted a photo on Twitter of himself wearing the shirt , along with the post: "In case you didn't know!"

10:30 a.m.

Outside the Buffalo Bills' New Era Field, fans were tailgating as normal with no signs of protests or indications of support.

Last season, vendors here sold anti-Colin Kaepernick jerseys — including one with him pictured in the crosshairs of a target — before the San Francisco 49ers game at Orchard Park on Oct. 16. Kaepernick was jeered once the game began.

Kaepernick was the first player to refuse to stand during the national anthem.

"If they do this as a whole team, I will want my money back as a season-ticket holder and I'll never come back to a game again," fan Mike Ragyna said when asked about the prospect of players protesting during the anthem.

"There's no reason they can't stand for the national anthem and get up on a soapbox afterward and do it then," Ragyna said.

10:15 a.m.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan calls it a privilege to stand arm-in-arm with players during the national anthem in London.

Khan stood between tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith at Wembley Stadium and then released a statement to express his support for players. Coaches and other team personnel from both teams did the same before the game against the Ravens.

About two dozen players on both teams kneeled, something President Donald Trump has said owners should fire players for.

"It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium," Khan said. "I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem."

10:02 a.m.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is defending President Donald Trump's attacks on football players who kneel during the national anthem.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, Mnuchin says the National Football League enforces other types of rules and Trump thinks "owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem."

Mnuchin adds that "they can do free speech on their own time."

Trump suggested during a speech Friday night that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. A handful of NFL players have refused to stand to protest several issues, including police brutality.

10:01 a.m.

The Pittsburgh Penguins say they've accepted an invitation from President Donald Trump to go to the White House after winning the Stanley Cup.

The Penguins released a statement Sunday saying they respect the office of the president and "the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House." The Penguins were honored by Barack Obama after winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and previously by George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

"Any agreement or disagreement with a president's politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit."

Trump revoked the White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors Saturday, after the team had said they might not accept.

9:55 a.m.

A White House adviser says the president lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem because he stands with Americans who want the anthem respected.

Marc Short is director of legislative affairs. He argues on NBC's "Meet the Press" that President Donald Trump believes NFL players have First Amendment rights, but that owners should have the right to fire them.

Trump seemed to disinvite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the White House because of star Stephen Curry's public opposition to him.

Asked why Trump is inflaming tensions, Short says the Warriors started it. He says players "were the ones that first went out ... and began criticizing the president."

9:15 a.m.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says he "100 percent" supports his players' decision to kneel during the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley.

At least seven Ravens players and more than a dozen Jaguars players took a knee during the anthem while the rest of the players stood locked arm-in-arm in an apparent response to President Donald Trump, who said this week that NFL owners should fire those who disrespected the American flag.

But the Ravens issued a statement from Bisciotti minutes after kickoff, saying: "We recognize our players' influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood arm-in-arm with his players during the anthem.

8:30 a.m.

About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and "God Save The Queen," the national anthem of Britain.

No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.

President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.


Comments on: LATEST: At least 100 NFL players kneel or sit in protest

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JakeTidmore says... September 24, 2017 at 1:07 p.m.

Some conservatives get it, including Bill Kristol, who invoked the famous U.S. Supreme Court ruling by Justice Robert Jackson in 1943, during war, upholding the right of people not to take an oath. Jackson said that making patriotic gestures compulsory betrays "an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds."
To further quote Jackson: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”
This applies to officials who happen to be both high AND petty.

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mozarky2 says... September 24, 2017 at 1:21 p.m.

And, JT, by the same token, those who disagree with these privileged a**holes are free to spend their entertainment dollars elsewhere. Buh-bye, NFL.
These jerks are protesting on behalf of people who are probably 99% responsible for their own plight.
And, I dare you "progs" to have a long hard look at the criminal behavior of NFL players, past and present.
Laugh all you want, those of you on your knees. The NFL is circling the bowl. President Trump will come out ahead in this matter.

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ARMNAR says... September 24, 2017 at 1:28 p.m.

Just watched Chris Kluwe on CNN. He accurately described Trump as "a racist, fascist white supremacist."

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RBear says... September 24, 2017 at 1:33 p.m.

Another who gets it is Jason Kander, former SoS of MO and Army intelligence officer as well as an Afghanistan vet, "Patriotism isn't about making everyone stand and salute the flag. Patriotism is about making this a country where everyone wants to."

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JakeTidmore says... September 24, 2017 at 1:51 p.m.

Good comments ARMNAR & RB. True patriots don't bully others into their viewpoints. They realize that respecting freedom requires the tough job of treating people as equals no matter what.
Sorry, MOZ, but as I told you a few weeks back, I no longer read your comments. You've stooped to name-calling and bad logic so often that I truly consider it a waste of my time and life to read your gibberish.
Since making that decision about you, as soon as I read your name, that's as far as I look. I skip to the next person. Hopefully, they have something intelligent and nice to say. And today they did.
Have a nice year, treat others kindly, and return to no person evil for evil.

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JakeTidmore says... September 24, 2017 at 2:04 p.m.

Of course, I must admit that as I skipped past the MOZ entry, I caught a glimpse of my initials -"JT". It took some effort to move on but seeing that comments by ARMNAR & RBear were coming up, the escape happened rather quickly and I avoided the thorns and briars. I backslid for about 2 or 3 words before telling the demonic temptation to vanish from my sight.
No need to use the broken glass rosary, thank goodness.

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TimberTopper says... September 24, 2017 at 2:40 p.m.

moz, too bad you got all heart broken when the navy wouldn't take you because you were under weight. However, had you wanted to serve, you could have gone into the army, their requirements were not as high. Once in at basic training you would have gained weight and muscle, saw it happen more than once, then you could have transferred to the navy and had that career that you were looking so forward to. While I probably wouldn't knee down myself, they are within their rights to do so, and deserve the respect of their convictions. But since you and the orange haired leader didn't take the oath or wear the uniform, both of your rants are rather empty. But you do have the right to rant. Me and many others wore the uniform and took the oath so that you could. In the long run this will not effect the NFL.

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RBear says... September 24, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.

JT, same here. Didn't even notice it until you mentioned his comment. I've quit reading because they are usually just incoherent babbling. A lot of selective comments to attempt to create a relevant rebuttal. Folks like moz just don't really understand the values of this Republic, opting for a myopic view that would be better suited in Turkey or Venezuela. So glad to see the owners standing with their players. It shows they stand strong in the face of a publicity starved president who has to create controversy to deflect from his failed agenda.
As I said, it plays to a base that is issue illiterate and dragging the country down.

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23cal says... September 24, 2017 at 3:31 p.m.

Imagine if the president condemned the KKK or Russia hacking elections like he does black people asking for equality.
The President just as easily could have said something classy like this:

"I disagree with players taking a knee.
I’ve always believed that you stand for the National Anthem.
But even if I disagree, it’s still their right to do that.
They are still Americans.
They are still patriotic.
And I think it’s important for all of us to try to understand the meaning behind it.”
Just kidding. No way could the demagogue have done that.
A great way to show respect for the flag is to refuse offers of clandestine election assistance from foreign espionage agencies of America's adversaries. Just sayin'.

My ancestors didn't secede and wage war against the USA just so a bunch of spoiled NFL players could one day disrespect the flag my ancestors fought against. (sarcasm)

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Tigermule says... September 24, 2017 at 3:41 p.m.

I don't think it is too much to ask to stand for the national anthem.

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