In the wake of President Trump calling for the firing of NFL players who protest during the national anthem, such protests increased by more than 2,000%. The AP reports more than 130 players sat, knelt, or raised fists for the national anthem during Sunday’s day games; last week it was six players.
Players on numerous teams—including the Dolphins, Browns, Patriots, Broncos, Saints, Eagles, Giants, Chargers, and Jaguars—knelt, according to Deadspin. Protests came from stars like Travis Kelce, Von Miller, and Lesean McCoy (who called Trump an “asshole” a day earlier). “There ain’t no dividing us,” the Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs said. “I guess we’re all son-of-a-bitches.” Protesting players were met with a mix of boos and applause from fans.
Three teams—the Seahawks, Titans, and Steelers (with the exception of US Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva)—stayed in the locker room or tunnel for the anthem. “As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem,” the New York Times quotes the Seahawks as saying in a statement. “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.” An NFL executive says the teams will not be fined despite violating a league rule requiring they be on the sideline for the anthem.
Singers of the national anthem in Detroit and Tennessee took a knee, and some Miami Dolphins players wore shirts reading #IMWITHKAP during warm-ups. For his part, Colin Kaepernick tweeted a reminder that his protests were never about Trump but about racial injustice in the US.