Get the best of The Independent. With an Independent Minds subscription for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a month. Start your free trial But the move to take a knee during the national anthem before kick-off - or stand with arms locked in silent protest - follows in a long tradition of sports stars standing up for what they believe to be right, despite many believing that doing so is unpatriotic and that politics should be kept out of sports Buffalo Bills players kneel during the American National anthem before an NFL game against the Denver Broncos on 24 September, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Brett Carlsen/Getty. 13/14.
NFL players delivered a defiant message to US president on both sides of the Atlantic yesterday with various protests during the American anthem. A handful of players had previously knelt or raised fists for the Star-Spangled Banner over perceived racial injustice and on Friday Trump attacked those kneeling players, claiming they should be “fired” by team owners. But rather than deter players from doing so, there were widespread protests from NFL players two days later, with over 20 players taking a knee in London before the Jacksonville Jaguars' victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Why did the NFL national anthem protest start? The NFL protest was started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began sitting or kneeling during the anthem last year in protest against police brutality and the treatment of black Americans. Kaepernick is currently a free agent after leaving the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017. There are suggestions he has struggled to find a club because of his involvement with the politically sensitive NFL national anthem protest.
Why are more NFL players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem? The NFL national anthem protest has gathered pace in recent days following comments from US president Donald Trump. To a crowd of cheering supporters at a rally in Alabama on Friday, Mr Trump asked: "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...
he is fired'?" On Saturday night, the Oakland Athletics' Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel in protest during the anthem. What did NFL players do during the national anthems on Sunday? Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens players knelt during their NFL clash in London. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan - who donated $1m (£740,000) to the Trump campaign - locked arms with his players in an unusual scene, as owners rarely join players on the pitch.
Neither the Seattle Seahawks or the Tennessee Titans turned out for the national anthem before kick-off at their game, hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same in Chicago. The Chicago Bears stood on the sidelines with their arms locked, as did New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady and team-mates at another game. Some Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals players also linked arms. The anthem singer at the Seahawks-Titans game kneeled at the end of he performance, as did singer at the Lions-Falcons game, who also raised his fist.
Fans booed their own teams at some games as players protested - including at the Titans and Patriots games. Philadelphia Eagles fans clashed with protesters ahead of a game in their home city against the New York Giants. More than 150 players protested on Sunday, meaning it was the largest of their kind since they began last year.
What did Donald Trump say about the NFL protests? Before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey to head back to Washington yesterday, Mr Trump said the protests were "disrespectful to our country and very disrespectful to our flag." Speaking under the wing of the plane, the President said: “The owners should do something about it. "We have a great country. We have great people representing our country, especially our soldiers and first responders. They can be treated with respect.
"When you get on your knee and you don't respect the American flag or the anthem that is not being treated with respect... This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country, and respect for our flag." Earlier on Sunday Mr Trump called for a boycott of the sport and for players who didn't stand to be fired by their teams.
He wrote on Twitter: "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our flag and country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend! "NFL attendance and ratings are way down. Boring games yes but many stay away because they love our country. League should back US." He later responded to the latest protests, saying on Twitter: "Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country.
Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable." He later added: "Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!" What did the NFL say about the protests?
Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, who heads the league, said: "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players." NFL Players' Association president Eric Winston said Mr Trump's comments were "a slap in the face to the civil rights heroes of the past and present".
Several NFL club owners criticised Mr Trump and stood with their players. That included Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, and a friend of Mr Trump's.
He said: "I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. "Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful." Martha Firestone Ford, owner of the Detroit Lions, said: "Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation.
"Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country." In a statement the Chicago Bears chairman George H McCaskey, said the organisation was "proud to support our players, to bring peace and unity together through football".
What will happen now? Over the weekend the hashtags #TakeAKnee and #BoycottNFL were both trending on Twitter, as fans from both sides of the debate made their feelings known. The hashtag #TakeAKnee, encouraging NFL players to kneel during the national anthem at forthcoming games, has been shared more than 1.2 million times since Saturday.
Meanwhile #BoycottNFL has been shared more than 131,000 times, with many social media users urging people not to watch or attend future NFL games unless players are forced to stand during the national anthem.
The next NFL match takes place in the early hours of tomorrow morning (1.30am) between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys, where there could be more protests. The Green Bay Packers then face the Chicago Bears on Friday night before a packed fixture list on Sunday.
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Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar Some NFL players are still protesting during the national anthem, despite a new league policy that says their teams can be fined if they don't stand or show respect.
In Philadelphia, two Eagles players raised their fists during the anthem in their first preseason game. In Miami, two Dolphins knelt behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline.
And in Seattle, three Seahawks players ran into the team's locker room before the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in their preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. It's also part of the conversation in Central Indiana again, because the Colts will be playing the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Lucas Oil Stadium in their third preseason game of the 2018 season.
It's the anniversary — sort of — of the Colts-49ers game last season when Vice President Mike Pence walked out in protest after about 20 players on the 49ers knelt on the sidelines during the anthem. As the NFL protests continue, here's a look at why this issue has so divided the nation and captured our attention. Doyel: Kneeling during national anthem started battle that everybody lost Jenna Watson/IndyStar Why are the players kneeling during the national anthem?
Following the example set by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, NFL players who are kneeling during the national anthem say they are doing so to protest racial inequalities and police violence against minorities in America.
Some players are choosing to stand but are raising their fists to show solidarity with Kaepernick. Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Kaepernick has been featured on the covers of magazines such as Time, Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker for his stance, but he has also received death threats. He has also filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, complaining that since launching his protest he believes he is being prevented from playing again in the NFL.
Roger Goodell: NFL wants 'zero' players to protest during national anthem How has President Donald Trump responded to the protests? President Donald Trump attacked the NFL players who knelt during the anthem in a series of tweets and statements in late September 2017. His comments resonated with some Americans but also touched a nerve with players and numerous NFL owners. "If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem," Trump remarked in a pair of tweets.
"If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!" Trump also called on the NFL to suspend Kaepernick, during an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. Polarizing issue: What's the 'right' way for athletes to protest?
How did kneeling during the national anthem start? It began when Kaepernick decided to sit on Aug. 26, 2016, during the playing of the national anthem before his team's third preseason game against Green Bay. After the game, he told the media that he sat because of oppression and police brutality against people of color.
Two days later, after his protest had gained national attention, Kaepernick expanded on his remarks in a news conference. Among other things, he said he had great respect for American military service members but wanted to give a voice to people who are never heard. Here are his remarks from that news conference: "I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed.
To me, this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand." "This stand wasn’t for me. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change.
So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t." "It's something that can unify this team. It's something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there's a better understanding of where both sides are coming from." "I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country.
And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody.
That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right." On Sept. 1, Kaepernick continued to kneel during the anthem and was joined by a teammate, San Francisco safety Eric Reid, who also kneeled. On that same date, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks joined the protest by sitting on the bench during the playing of the anthem.
Soon afterward, players from other NFL teams began joining in the protest. What it's all about: Anthem kneeling isn't aimed at veterans, and other NFL protest misconceptions Who knelt for the national anthem?
According to Sports Pundit, the Seattle Seahawks (156), San Francisco 49ers (110), Tennessee Titans (64), Kansas City Chiefs (59) and Pittsburgh Steelers (52) were the teams with the most incidents of players opting to not participate during the playing of the national anthem during the 2017 season.
The teams with the fewest players protesting were Carolina, Houston, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta, each with two or fewer protesting players, the sports website said. The Philadelphia Eagles were singled out by Sports Pundit for being the only NFL team whose players did not sit or kneel during the playing of the anthem in the 2017 season. Trump's verbal attacks on players led to Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns players garnering attention for kneeling on opposite sidelines — along with about 200 other NFL players across the country — during the playing of the anthem before their game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept.
24, 2017. Why is the national anthem played at NFL games? President Woodrow Wilson declared in 1916 that the "Star Spangled Banner" would be the American national anthem, but it wasn't until after the U.S.
entered World War II in 1941 that it began to be played regularly before regular season baseball games and NFL games, according to Axios.com. In 1945, NFL commissioner Elmer Layden decided to continue the tradition. This is what he said: "The playing of the national anthem should be as much a part of every game as the kickoff.
We must not drop it simply because the war is over. We should never forget what it stands for." In 2009, according to Axios, NFL players began standing on the sidelines for the national anthem before the start of primetime games.
Before that, players stayed in their locker rooms during the anthem — except during the Super Bowl. What is the NFL new rule on national anthem? The NFL adopted a new policy on May 23, 2018, mandating that players and team personnel present on the sideline “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.” However, after the NFL was criticized by The NFL Players Association for not consulting with them on the league policy, the league and players union decided to put the new anthem dictates on hold and work together on a new policy.
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports “The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice,” the two said in a rare joint statement. However, even in its initial rule, the NFL did allow for an exception: It said players who would not wish to stand could remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem.
Swarens: NFL has authority to restrict anthem protests Opinion: The NFL's new national anthem policy enslaves black players and fans Why did Mike Pence leave during a game? Vice President Mike Pence took the side of Trump and fans who dislike the protests when he and wife, Karen, walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium in Downtown Indianapolis on Oct. 8, 2017, after a group of San Francisco 49ers players knelt during the national anthem. "I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted minutes after leaving the stadium.
Pence received shows of support — and much criticism — after the incident. Critics said it was a stunt and Pence was just using the Colts to make a political point to appeal to his voter base. But Pence doubled down on his earlier comments shortly after the walkout, saying to Indianapolis radio host Tony Katz of WIBC that he and Trump had discussed the matter before Pence attended the game.
"Look, everybody's entitled to their opinion," Pence said during the interview. "But the president and I believe that it's not too much to ask that NFL players respect our soldiers, respect our flag, respect our national anthem. And that's why we left." Months later, Pence weighed in on the NFL's new anthem policy, stirring a controversy when he tweeted a one-word response: the word "#winning" with an American flag emoji.
What did former Colts coach Tony Dungy say? Tony Dungy's response to the kneeling issue has been nuanced — to say the least. In late September 2017, after players from the Colts and Cleveland Browns took a knee before their game in response to criticisms by President Trump about the NFL players, Dungy appeared to speak up on their behalf.
"A group of our family got attacked, and called names … and said they should be fired for what we feel is demonstrating our First Amendment right," Dungy said Sept.
25, 2017, on "The Today Show." "We're going to bow up, band together as a family, and they reacted. "You had people who hadn't been in this movement now saying, 'I'm going to side with my teammates.' " Jenna Watson/IndyStar But when Dungy appeared on "Fox & Friends" this August, he walked a finer line. First, he appeared the support the players, saying "These guys are not unpatriotic. They're not standing against our country. They're kneeling against what's wrong in the country." But later in his appearance, he said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has the right to run his team the way he sees fit — even if it means telling his players to stand on the sideline when the anthem is being played.
Finally, Dungy said if he was still coaching, he would give his players "10 minutes of my press conference every week" after the game to speak out on the issue, rather than using the three minutes before the game. Colts on selling tickets: 'We've got our work cut out for us' What has Colts owner Jim Irsay said about this?
Colts owner Jim Irsay was one of those to initially denounce President Trump's remarks about the protesting players. Here's some of what what he had to say: “I am troubled by the president’s recent comments about our league and our players. Sports in America have the unique ability to bring people from all walks of life and from different points of view together to work toward or root for a common goal, and the Indianapolis Colts are proud to be a part of that tradition in our home city and state.
"The vast majority of players in the NFL — especially those who have worn and continue to wear the Horseshoe — have donated millions of dollars to charities, raised money for those affected by recent hurricanes, created charitable foundations, visited schools, mentored students, worked in homeless shelters, cleaned up parks and put in hours of their personal time toward improving their communities and the lives of those around them." Matt Kryger/IndyStar In October 2017, the Colts also announced the creation of The Colts Players Fund for Equality to support charities “working to promote equality, improve relationships between law enforcement and the community and provide opportunities for minorities,” according to a team press release.
Irsay contributed the first $100,000, the team announced. However, as sagging NFL TV ratings in the fall of 2017 left team owners scrambling for answers, Irsay stirred more controversy on the issue later on by telling USA TODAY Sports that the sideline protests were "the wrong venue." “It hasn’t been a positive thing," Irsay said. "What we all have to be aware of as players, owners, PR people, equipment managers, is when the lights go on we are entertainment.
We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself.” Matt Kryger/IndyStar What have Indianapolis Colts players done? Indianapolis Colts safety Darius Butler and a group of teammates that included Malik Hooker, Matt Hazel, Kamar Aiken, Marlon Mack, Al Woods and Rashaan Melvin knelt during the anthem before the Colts played the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 24, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium. At least 20 Browns knelt on the opposite sideline. “There are a lot of great things about this country, this is a great country, but there are some things that need to be changed,” Butler said after the game.
During their next game, all of the Colts stood. Instead, many of them wore under their game jerseys a black T-shirt with white lettering under a white horseshoe that read "We will stand for ...
equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity." Former Indianapolis Colts defensive back Antonio Cromartie's wife said he was cut from the team as a result of his decision to kneel during a few games in the 2016 season. How have Indianapolis Colts fans reacted? During tailgating before the Colts game against the Browns in September of 2017, Colts fans' opinions ran the gamut.
Some fans, such as Tony Howell of Evansville, fully supported the anthem protest. "The world champions don't even want to go to the White House," said Howell of the Golden State Warriors, who won the NBA championship. "That used to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
Who wants to go with that guy there?" But there were others who criticized the protesters, believing they should find another method to display their discontent. Dan Stauffer and Melody Schmitt of Evansville proudly held a sign outside Lucas Oil Stadium that said, "Stand for America," drawing the attention of almost everyone who walked by.
Matt Kryger/IndyStar After that game, other Colts fans posted on social media about their displeasure at the kneeling players. One fan, Shannon Turner, posted a Facebook live video showing him burning his Colts apparel in a fire pit in his backyard. "No more Colts. I'm done," he said. Rodney Heard from Carmel, who said he served in the Marine Corps, burned his Colts season tickets in a Facebook live video.
A majority of veterans interviewed by IndyStar during a Downtown Indianapolis parade on Veterans Day in November 2017 also said the players should stand during the anthem. There was even a bill, filed by Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, before the 2018 session of the Indiana General Assembly that would have allowed fans who feel disrespected by the players' kneeling to ask for a refund during the first quarter at home games.
But House Speaker Brian Bosma said there likely were constitutional as well as "private business issues" with the bill and it faded away quickly. Doyel: Fans should vote on NFL anthem policy with their wallets IndyStar reporters Tony Cook, Kaitlyn Lange, Stephanie Wang, Justin L.
Mack, Andrew Clark, Clifton J. Brown and Jim Ayello and USA TODAY reporters Lorenzo Reyes and Nancy Armour contributed to this story. Call IndyStar digital producer Dwight Adams at 317-444-6532. Follow him on Twitter: @hdwightadams. More stories of interest: Sharply worded remarks: Pete Buttigieg mocks Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani and Trump What we know: Developments in the duck boat tragedy, the Coleman family, victims, survivors and lawsuits
The National Football League (NFL) will fine teams if players do not stand for the national anthem before games in future. The NFL announced the changes on Wednesday in news liable to please President Donald Trump, who had demanded an end to protests. The demonstrations were supposed to highlight persistent racial inequality in the US, particularly regarding police violence against black people, .
Players had been kneeling during the anthem, heads bowed, rather than standing with a hand on their heart as is typical. In the US, unlike in most of the world, the national anthem is played before most major sporting events. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a new policy on Wednesday, with a small compromise for players.
Those who do not wish to stand for the anthem will be at liberty to wait off the field until the anthem has played. "All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem," the NFL's policy statement said. "Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed." Kneeling on the field, or any other form of "disrespect," will be subject to sanction.
Asked what constituted disrespect, Dallas Cowboys owner Stephen Jones said league officials would know it "when we see it." 'False perception' of 'unpatriotic' players Goodell's statement sought to stress the NFL's various initiatives designed to "advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society." It also acknowledged that the players' protests had "sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed." However, it went on to say that the actions had also made some players appear to be unpatriotic.
"It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case," the NFL statement in Goodell's name said. This false perception was fed in no small part by Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
During a 30-day period between September and October last year, early in the 2017 regular season, more than one in every 10 Trump tweets were related to the NFL and the protests. Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, also made a point of attending a San Francisco 49ers game last October, only to walk out (taking his massive security entourage with him again) before the game began.
Trump later acknowledged that he had ordered Pence to walk out if players knelt during the anthem. The choice of a 49ers game was probably not a coincidence. The so-called "take a knee" movement began with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
Once one of the league's highest-profile quarterbacks, and still only 30 years old, Kaepernick is now a free agent unable to find an NFL club that will hire him. He won Amnesty International's 2018 Ambassador of Conscience award.
The movement even reverberated to Germany's Bundesliga last October, msh/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)
National Anthem Singer Kneels During Titans Game in Support of NFL Protests