NFL stars kneel for anthem to defy Trump

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He was later joined by US women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe, who protested before games for the national team.

“I’ve never said anything about race”, Trump said when asked whether he was “inflaming racial tensions” by a reporter.

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture”.

Most of the players locked arms with their teammates – some coaches and team owners also joined in.

Nearly a year ago Colin Kaepernick knelt during the playing of the national anthem while he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Among those teams that saw players demonstrating on Sunday were the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.

How each team would observe the national anthem emerged as the centre of attention on this NFL Sunday in the wake of Trump’s critical remarks toward players who don’t stand for the anthem. Indian laws are also a little more ambiguous than American codes, which clearly state that people are expected to stand and face the U.S. flag, if there is one, during the playing of the anthem.

President Donald Trump ignited a war of words with the nation’s African-American athletes this weekend, yet again putting himself squarely in the middle of a racially charged debate.

Earlier in the day, the president said that while standing and locking arms was a positive show of solidarity, kneeling was “not acceptable”. For as many people who agree with the protests, there are just as many who are steadfast in their belief that it’s disrespectful to a number of things, not the least of which the military and the heritage the flag represents.

Kaepernick, 29, remains a free agent this year despite having statistics better than almost all backup quarterbacks on the 32 National Football League teams.

The Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room as the national anthem played before their game with the Chicago Bears. “I think what the President is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the National Anthem”.

Trump had followed up Friday night’s comment with a tweet the following day criticising National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell, who had called the president’s comments “divisive”.

Sporting greats like the NBA’s Lebron James called the President a “bum” over the remarks, and Buffalo Bills NFL running back LeSean McCoy called him an “a**hole”.

The President inflamed tensions further Saturday by withdrawing a White House invitation to basketball star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

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