Well, you had to think this was coming.
After President Donald Trump’s comments highly critical of national anthem protests by professional athletes, NFL players and staff used the first Sunday following those comments to engage in what was clearly the biggest, most widespread anthem protest to date.
On Friday, during a campaign appearance on behalf of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, Trump addressed the anthem protests, saying, in part, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b---- off the field right now?’”
The response by teams on Sunday? Probably what you expected, sad to say.
As noted by The Sporting News, several players on the Miami Dolphins were seen during warmups wearing #IMWITHKAP t-shirts, the message a reference to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose own anthem protests last season are seen as the catalyst for all those taking place currently.
Before their game with the Houston Texans, several New England Patriots players took a knee during the anthem.
Prior to their game at London’s Wembley Stadium, members of both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens knelt during the playing of the anthem.
Similar expressions took place all across the league on Sunday.
Perhaps the most controversial protest of all was that engaged in by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing the Bears at Chicago’s Soldier Field, nearly every member of the team opted to remain in the locker room during the national anthem. The only exception was lineman Alejandro Villlanueva, a U.S. Army veteran, who stood, hand over his heart, at the edge of the tunnel while the anthem played.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large