[NL2N1M40CQ] Some African-American players adopted the symbolic gesture of kneeling during the anthem over the previous year to protest against racial disparities in the US criminal justice system.
The protests seen across the game this season stem from former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaeperknick's stand against racial and social inequality last season, with the then-San Francisco 49ers star the first to kneel down in protest following a string of police incidents involving black citizens.
He tweeted Saturday that players should stand on Sunday, saying they should respect the USA flag and country. "And I think it's disgraceful", he said. On the other sideline, several members of the Miami Dolphins knelt during the national anthem.
The entire Dallas Cowboys roster and coaching team, including owner Jerry Jones, knelt down in Arizona - which drew a hostile reception from the home fans - while the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks all chose to remain in the tunnel until the anthem had finished.
"Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem", he wrote. However, Mark Dodson, an engineer, said the protests were "absolutely a global initiative" and "a sign of solidarity between different races, different backgrounds, different everything basically, which is great to see".
"I'm told the owners have research clearly showing the president is right when he says the anthem protests are one factor in a TV ratings drop", King said during a broadcast Sunday morning.
"The only thing you should be focusing on is the fact the Puerto Rico is on its knees", he said. I wonder how many of them know what the issue is. Last Sunday, more than 100 NFL players sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance during the national anthem. He did not elaborate. Full teams, along with some team owners, linked arms either before or during the anthem.
The NFL rejected the president's remarks as not factual.
Trump also called on fans, again via Twitter, to boycott football games. The trend began last season when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling in protest over police brutality in the U.S. Two members of the Lions knelt while most of the team stood.