Most members of the Cleveland Browns either took a knee or stood arm-and-arm with fellow players and staff during the playing of the national anthem before the start of Sunday’s game.
The silent protest happened at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a continuation of a string of protests that seem to have been only strengthened after criticism this weekend from President Donald Trump.
Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam on Sunday responded to the president’s remarks, saying, “We must not let misguided, uninformed and divisive comments from the president or anyone else deter us from our efforts to unify.
“Our stance in support of the liberties of peaceful, personal expression afforded to our players and all Americans will remain strong, and we will continue to encourage our players to respectfully use their earned platform to inspire positive change in our nation and throughout society,” the Haslams said.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, coach Mike Tomlin has told CBS. That was the typical practice for most NFL teams before 2009.
One Steeler, Alejandro Villanueva, did emerge from the tunnel to stand for the anthem. Villanueva is a U.S. MIlitary Academy graduate and a veteran.
Former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the “take a knee” movement last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed by a new team this season.