At least 100 NFL players participated in a protest during the pre-game national anthems on Sunday. Their demonstrations and acts of free speech come a day after President Donald Trump called on players to be "fired" for "disrespecting the flag."
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) September 24, 2017
— They call me E ☜ (@yamanboo) September 24, 2017
The noon eastern time kickoff games saw an incredible display of solidarity. Some players knelt, others locked arms, all seemed to be cognizant of the callous remarks from the president.
One team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, did not participate in the national anthem, opting instead to remain in their locker room while "The Star-Spangled Banner" played. Steeler offensive tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva did step on the field to honor the anthem.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 24, 2017
While the NFL was unified against the president, Trump tweeted Sunday that some of the demonstrations were "good," but he still insisted that kneeling was "not acceptable."
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Athletes were not the only ones protesting on Sunday. The performer of the national anthem for the Detroit Lions-Atlanta Falcons game took a knee as he finished his rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The singer of the national anthem at the Detroit Lions game today ends on one knee, fist in the air pic.twitter.com/hCeWWjpmQa
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) September 24, 2017
One NFL front office source told CNN's Brian Stelter, "If Trump thought he could divide the NFL, he was wrong." Colin Kaepernick still is without a team, however.