NFL stars kneel to defy Trump’s anti-protest rant

NFL stars kneel in defiance of Trump

American football players knelt in defiance of US president Donald Trump as their national anthem was played before a game at Wembley Stadium.

Players from Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens protested ahead of the first NFL match since Mr Trump called for team owners to sack those who kneel when the US anthem is played.

The Jaguars’ billionaire owner Shad Khan, who also owns Fulham FC, also stood and linked arms with the players.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, started the kneeling movement last year to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick has not been signed by a team since.

At a rally in Alabama on 22 September, Mr Trump told his supporters: ‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired”.’

He has also criticised NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, who called the president’s comments ‘divisive’. Before the game in London, Mr Trump tweeted: ‘If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!’

His comments have drawn sharp responses from some of the US’ top athletes, with basketball star LeBron James labelling him a ‘bum’.

The Ravens tweeted: ‘We recognise our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 per cent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.’

Meanwhile the Jaguars tweeted a photo of Mr Khan standing arm in arm with players, captioned: ‘Unity’.

In the US, the Pittsburg Steelers stayed in their locker room as the national anthem played before their game against the Chicago Bears.

TNT Sport

Photo Credit: Wochit News

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