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Christian Petersen/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones linked arms and kneeled with the team's players ahead of the national anthem this evening.

On Sunday, NFL players, teams and owners across the league participated in a peaceful protest by kneeling, locking arms, or skipping the playing of the national anthem all together in response to President Donald Trump's criticism of players who "disrespect" the U.S.

The Cowboys, who are in Arizona to face off against the Cardinals, stood and joined arms while the national anthem played, as did the Cardinals.

A photo tweeted by the Cowboys' account showed Jones kneeling alongside the players, with the caption "#FootballIsFamily."

#FootballIsFamily pic.twitter.com/otMlQjqnnr

— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 26, 2017

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Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CLEVELAND) -- NBA All-Star LeBron James spoke to the press on Monday following Sunday's protests around the NFL, in which many players took a knee during the national anthem in support of equality.

"It’s powerful what all these athletes are doing," James said. "It's not about the disrespect of our flag and the military that’s made this world free."

He added: "It's about equality."

The peaceful protests that the Cleveland Cavaliers star was referring to took place on Sunday, after President Donald Trump called for the NFL to "fire or suspend" those who kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"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!" Trump tweeted on Sunday, which followed similar comments he made Friday in Huntsville, Alabama.

James commented on the support that NFL players got not only from teammates but from team owners as well, some of whom also took the field Sunday in solidarity. He said what Trump said over the weekend "frustrated me."

"He used the sports platform to divide us. Sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race; brings people together like no other. I'm not going to let one individual no matter the power, the impact he or she should have ever use sport as a platform to divide us," he said. "The people run this country, not one person. And damn sure not him."

And while James hasn't considered taking a knee when the NBA's regular season starts up again in a couple of weeks, he said he will continue to speak out and educate the people of Ohio.

"I’m doing OK for myself, my family is doing OK," he said. "Even if we weren’t doing OK financially, I'd still be trying to find a way to inspire the youth. ... Personally, my voice is more important than my knee."

But James didn't take anything away from the movement that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started last pre-season, when he was the first to take a knee during the national anthem. In fact, he wishes he could hire Kaepernick.

"I salute Colin for being as powerful as he was," he said. "I wish I owned an NFL team right now. I’d sign him today."

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ABC News(BOSTON) -- Donnie Gardiner, the facilities superintendent at Fenway Park in Boston, has been working behind-the-scenes for nearly 30 years, keeping the home of the Red Sox running.

He was originally hired as a contractor in 1989 before assuming his current position a decade later.

Gardiner said he usually begins his day around 6 a.m. and typically works 17-18 hours.

“I love the early mornings,” he said. “But more than anything, I know what I can get accomplished between 6-6:30 and 9 o’clock in the morning. After 9 o’clock the building starts waking up. And the phone starts ringing. So I really trying and accomplish as much as I can early in the day.”

Although he has worked at the stadium for almost three decades, Gardiner has never watched a full game. He said that it’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening on the field, but his main concern is what’s going on inside the building itself.

“A lot of people in the company know that I've never watched a game. I take a little ribbing for it,” Gardiner said.

Though he’s never watched a game, the responsibilities that his job entails are the main motivation that keep him so committed to his work.

“I enjoy the responsibility and the accountability. I'm a driven person. I've always looked at my life and there's nothing I cannot do. You know, I'm a problem solver. My job is to keep this place up and running. My job in a nutshell is to protect the owner's investment and to keep our fans safe. And I do take that really seriously,” Gardiner said.

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Sean Gardner / Stringer / Getty Images(LEXINGTON, N.C.) -- NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Monday he supported the NFL players and owners who protested on Sunday in response to President Donald Trump's criticism of players who kneel during the national anthem.

Earnhardt wrote on Twitter that all Americans are granted the rights to "peaceful protests" before quoting former President John F. Kennedy.

All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable," Earnhardt wrote.

Earnhardt posted the tweet on Monday less than 30 minutes after Trump tweeted that he was "so proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans" for not "disrespecting" the country and the flag.

At a rally in Alabama last Friday, Trump suggested that NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem.

"Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now?'" the president said.

In response, NFL owners took a unified stand against Trump's comments at the start of several games on Sunday.

Several NASCAR team owners and executives said Sunday that they would not want anyone in their organization to protest, The Associated Press reported.

Among them was Richard Childress -- the longtime team owner for Earnhardt's father -- who said protesting would "get you a ride on a Greyhound bus," according to the AP.

"Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in," Childress said. "So many people gave their lives for it. This is America."

Earnhardt has spoken out against the president's policies in the past. In January, the legendary NASCAR driver had a Twitter conversation with a fan in response to Trump's immigration ban, saying that "America is created by immigrants."

"[My] fam immigrated from Germany in 1700s escaping religious persecution," Earnhardt said.

In April, Earnhardt, 42, announced that he would retire at the end of the year after driving for 18 seasons and competing in more than 600 races.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was the latest "friend" of President Donald Trump's to speak out against his comments this past weekend about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.

Trump called for the NFL to "fire or suspend" those who kneel during the opening anthem.

"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!" Trump tweeted on Sunday, which followed similar comments he made Friday at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama.

Brady, who has said in the past that he's friends with the current commander-in-chief, spoke out Monday, saying "I certainly disagree with what he said. I thought it was just divisive."

After Trump's comments, various teams either took a knee together on Sunday or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem.

Brady, 40, was interviewed on WEEI's "Kirk and Callahan" show Monday morning, one day after he linked arms with his fellow Patriots to show unity.

"Like I said, I just want to support my teammates," Brady said of his actions. "I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust ... I have been blessed to be in locker rooms with guys all over the United States over the course of my career ... The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together — guys you would never have the opportunity to be around."

Brady said what makes a football team so special is that "we're all different."

"I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do. If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about," he continued.

Brady followed in the footsteps of another Trump friend, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who released a statement Sunday admitting how "deeply disappointed" he was "by the tone of the comments made by the president."

"I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics," Kraft said.

The taking of a knee by NFL players began last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick declined to stand during the national anthem before a preseason game against San Diego.

He later explained to reporters that he was doing so to peacefully incite "significant change" regarding racial oppression in this country.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Baltimore Ravens player who locked arms with teammates in a game Sunday in response to President Donald Trump's criticism of players who kneel in protest during the national anthem said Trump's remarks were a "direct attack on our brotherhood."

Ben Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, was among the players who stood arm in arm during the "Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of the team's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday.

Watson told ABC News' Michael Strahan on "Good Morning America" Monday that the protest by Ravens players was "organic."

"When we got on the field, some guys kneeled, some guys decided to kneel that didn't before," he said. "Some guys locked arms."

"I locked arms," he said.

Players and team owners across the league responded yesterday and over the weekend to Trump's slamming players such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Kaepernick, who began the silent action in the 2016 preseason, told the media he was protesting against the treatment of blacks in the United States.

Trump at a rally Friday night in Huntsville, Alabama, said teams should fire players who kneel during the anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now, out,'" the president said.

Watson said Trump's words "cut deep" for the Ravens.

"We felt as many others did that this was a direct attack on our brotherhood," he told Strahan.

Watson said he hadn't previously agreed with Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during the national anthem, but he said the president's remarks suggested players don't have the right to speak out on important issues.

"There was a tremendous amount of emotion and a tremendous amount of hurt" over Trump's words, Watson said. "Obviously, the name-calling is something we don't [stand] for but even to imply that we don't have the right to express ourselves in that way is something that we really took to heart."

Watson added that he has long been concerned about the same issues that prompted Kaepernick's protest.

"I haven't kneeled, but the reasons [Kaepernick] decided to kneel -- the police brutality the excessive force, as he said, the impression of different people of color -- those are all concerns of mine since even before he decided to kneel... my feelings have not changed about those issues."

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iStock/ThinkstockHere are the scores from yesterday's sports events:

 INTERLEAGUE
 Final  Boston   5  Cincinnati   4

 AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  Minnesota      10  Detroit       4
 Final  Toronto         9  N-Y Yankees   5
 Final  Baltimore       9  Tampa Bay     4
 Final  Chi White Sox   8  Kansas City   1
 Final  Oakland         8  Texas         1
 Final  Cleveland       4  Seattle       2
 Final  L.A. Angels     7  Houston       5
 
 NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Washington     3  N-Y Mets        2
 Final  Philadelphia   2  Atlanta         0
 Final  Pittsburgh     4  St. Louis       1
 Final  Chi Cubs       5  Milwaukee       0
 Final  Arizona        3  Miami           2
 Final  L.A. Dodgers   3  San Francisco   1
 Final  Colorado       8  San Diego       4

 NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
 Final  Jacksonville   44  Baltimore      7
 Final  New Orleans    34  Carolina      13
 Final  Buffalo        26  Denver        16
 Final  Indianapolis   31  Cleveland     28
 Final OT  Chicago        23  Pittsburgh    17
 Final  Philadelphia   27  N-Y Giants    24
 Final  New England    36  Houston       33
 Final  N-Y Jets       20  Miami          6
 Final  Atlanta        30  Detroit       26
 Final  Minnesota      34  Tampa Bay     17
 Final  Tennessee      33  Seattle       27
 Final OT  Green Bay      27  Cincinnati    24
 Final  Kansas City    24  Los Angeles   10
 Final  Washington     27  Oakland       10

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Mitchell Gunn/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL players, teams and owners across the league responded Sunday to President Trump's criticism of players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, with some kneeling, others locking arms and still others choosing not to participate in the national anthem ceremony at all.

As the "Star-Spangled Banner" played at Soldier Field in Chicago for the noon game between the Chicago Bears and the Steelers, the Pittsburgh team's sideline was virtually empty.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told a CBS Sports reporter prior to the game that his team would stay in the locker room during the anthem.

"We're not participating in the anthem today," Tomlin said, adding that the action was "not to be disrespectful to the anthem" but to remove the team "from this circumstance."

"People shouldn't have to choose" whether to kneel or stand during the anthem, he said. "If a guy feels a need to do something he should not be separated from his teammate who chooses not to."

"So we're not participating today," he said. "That's our decision."

During the anthem, several Steelers coaches were on the sidelines and one player, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villaneuva, stood near the tunnel to the team's locker room, ESPN reported.

The decision by most Steelers not to participate was among the many varied responses on Sunday and over the weekend to Trump's calling for the firing of NFL players who kneel in protest during the anthem.

Both the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans, who played each other on Sunday, made separate announcements that nobody from either team would be on the sidelines for the anthem.

"As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic," the Titan's statement said.

The Seahawks players statement said, "As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing work towards equality and justice for all."

Earlier Sunday, a host of players in London took a knee and locked arms together as the United States national anthem was performed.

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady


The Green Bay Packers' quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, posted on Instagram that he supports fellow NFL players and coaches and included a photo of him kneeling with three other teammates, with the hashtags: "#unity #brotherhood #family #dedication #love"

Underneath the post, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appeared to endorse Rogers' stance with a raised-fist emoji.

Brady also posted on Instagram a supportive message to all NFL players.

Arm-in-arm at a game across the Atlantic

A game played at Wembley Stadium in London was a matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens. Among the players and coaches locking arms with players during the protest over the U.S. national anthem was Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.

Jaguars tight end Mercedes Lewis and linebackers Telvin Smith and Dante Fowler as well as defensive tackle Calais Campbell and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey all took knees as did Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb.

The ones who didn't kneel stood arm-in-arm throughout the playing of both country's anthems. The team's official Twitter account posted a one-word tweet "Unity" to capture the moment.

 

Unity pic.twitter.com/wSNsc4BSEV

— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 24, 2017

 

Khan himself released a statement calling Trump remarks as "divisive and contentious" and declared his support for his players after meeting with some of them before the game. He said he was "honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem."

The owner added that the team and the NFL "reflects our nation" said that it was personally important "to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation." 

 

Several Jaguars and Ravens players at Wembley kneel for the US National anthem, stand for the British national anthem.

— Henry Hodgson (@nflukhank) September 24, 2017

 

Trump's view

The protests come in response to the president's comments at a rally Friday night in Alabama when he said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now, out."

The president then appeared to channel his signature command from when he hosted the reality television show "The Apprentice."

"He's fired. He's fired."

On Sunday, before NFL games kicked off, the president's tweets reinforced his anti-anthem protest message.

He also suggested that if fans refuse to go to games due to the protests, "you will see change fast."

 

...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017

 

 

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017

 

On Saturday night, the president went after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for criticizing Trump's condemnation of kneeling players.

Goodell is "trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country," Trump tweeted. 

 

Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017

 

NFL to air 'unity' commercial

The NFL commissioner did not mention the president by name in his statement Saturday.

"Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," Goodell said.

The NFL also announced that it would re-air its commercial from February, "Inside These Lines," promoting societal unity and tolerance. "It reflects the unifying force of our great game, our players & clubs," Goodell said on Twitter.

In the commercial spot, Academy Award-winning actor Forrest Whittaker narrates as various lines are chalked on the grass.

Just as Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive end Eli Ankou, who is black, lifts opposing Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who is white, off the turf, Whittaker softly states: “We may have our differences but recognize there’s more that unites us.”

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Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft came out publicly against President Trump over the ongoing spat over NFL players kneeling during the "Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of games, the man who previously called the president a “very good friend” was not alone, as multiple owners are beginning to speak out on the issue.

"There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics," Kraft said in a statement tweeted by the Patriots.

The champion team's CEO came out against Trump after the president made comments during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday, saying, "Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now?'"

"You know, some owner ... is going to say, 'That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired,'" the president said to thunderous applause and cheers.

Kraft made it clear on Sunday he disagrees with the 45th president. Rather, he supports players' rights "to peacefully [effect] social change."

"I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal," the statement said. "Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community, and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is impactful."

The billionaires' beef comes only months after the Patriots made a formal visit to the White House in April, during which Kraft called Trump a "very good friend" and paralleled his presidential run with the team's historic comeback win in this year’s Super Bowl over the Atlanta Falcons. Trump, he said, "preserved" over 16 career politicians, and faced incredible odds.

Statement from #Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft: pic.twitter.com/f5DJeK0Woj

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 24, 2017

Kraft's comments came shortly after Trump on Sunday morning had turned his attention to NFL fans in his feud with the league over players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, saying many people should "stay away" from the games "because they love our country."

The president, who already disinvited NBA superstar Stephen Curry and the champion Golden State Warriors team from being feted at the White House, also suggested on Twitter that if NFL fans refuse to go to games because of these protests, "you will see change fast."

...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017

Trump's tweets came just a couple of hours before a series of NFL games scheduled for the day kicked off.

Across the country and in the U.K., many NFL owners like Kraft backed their players -- including owners of the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins.

Some were locked in arms with their team players and coaches as the "Star-Spangled Banner" performed, later expressing support to fight racial injustice and push back against the president's fiery rhetoric from Friday.

Jeffrey Lurie was one owner who on Sunday stood shoulder to shoulder with his Philadelphia Eagles players as they raised fists raised into the air as the "Star-Spangled Banner" played.

In a statement, the owner backed his players for their "courage, character, and commitment" into bettering communities and "to call attention to injustice."

"Having spoken with our players, I can attest to the great respect they have for our national anthem and all it represents," he said in the statement. "We at the Philadelphia Eagles firmly believe that in this difficult time of division and conflict, it is more important than ever for football to be a great unifier."

Although it appeared no team member kneeled on Sunday, Jets owner Christopher Johnson, brother of Woody Johnson, who is on hiatus from the team since Trump tapped him to be the country's ambassador to the U.K., was spotted locking arms with his players during the national anthem.

pic.twitter.com/F6RbbKOP3t

— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 24, 2017

In a statement tweeted on the team's official Twitter page, Johnson wrote, "It was an honor and a privilege to stand arm-in-arm unified with our players during Sunday's National Anthem."

In Detroit, Lions owner Martha Ford stood with her three daughters on the sideline next to her coach Jim Caldwell. Fans created an orchestra of boos as eight Lions players including Ameer Abdullah, Tahir Whitehead and other members of the defensive line kneeled and locked arms.

Across the field, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank locked arms with receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman as the national anthem was sung by Rico Lavelle, who at the end of it bent right knee and raised his right fist, clutching the microphone.

Near the 50-yard line, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross locked arms with safety Reshad Jones and center Mike Pouncey before they battled the Jets.

The day before, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also on Saturday did not refer to the president directly, but said in a statement the country "needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness."

Statement from Miami Dolphins Owner and Founder of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) Stephen Ross. pic.twitter.com/6W3mXwJO6M

— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 23, 2017

Also locking arms with players during the protest over the U.S. national anthem was Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.

Khan, in a statement, called Trump’s remarks "divisive and contentious," and declared his support for his players after meeting with some of the captains before the game.

Khan said he was "honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem."

The owner added that the team and the NFL "reflects our nation," and said that it was personally important "to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation."

The Pittsburgh Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin decided to skip the anthem altogether on Sunday.

"We're not participating in the anthem today," Tomlin said, adding that the action was "not to be disrespectful to the anthem" but to remove the team "from this circumstance."

"People shouldn't have to choose" whether to kneel or stand during the anthem, he said. "If a guy feels a need to do something he should not be separated from his teammate who chooses not to."

"So we're not participating today," he said. "That's our decision."

At Soldier Field, Coach Tomlin was spotted with other coaches on the sideline, but most of the players remained in the locker room as expected.

Once the national anthem commenced, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger walked out of the tunnel, as did left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who served as an Army ranger in Afghanistan. He held a hand over his heart as he marched onto the field.

Pittsburgh is a team whose ownership switched generations after the late Dan Rooney -- who was appointed by President Obama to serve as ambassador to Ireland from 2009, before resigning in 2012 -- passed away in April.

His son, Art, has since taken over as the team's top executive.

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York weighed in Saturday afternoon calling the president's comments "callous and offensive" and "contradictory to this great country stands for."

pic.twitter.com/nrx16iBlkw

— Jed York (@JedYork) September 23, 2017

Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was also in Trump's crosshairs for speaking out against the president's condemnation of kneeling players and statement that team owners should fire those players.

Goodell is "trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country," Trump tweeted.

Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017

Goodell did not mention the president by name in his statement earlier Sunday.

"Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."

NFL players across the league either kneeled or sat on the bench during the national anthem before Sunday's games.

The silent protest that has caught fire in the past week was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, who has yet to be signed by an NFL team, began kneeling in the preseason in 2016 as a sign of protest over the treatment of blacks in the U.S.

The president of the NFL Players Union, which represents current and former players, released a statement on Saturday: "The balance between the rights of every citizen in our great country gets crossed when someone is told to just 'shut up and play.'"

Union President DeMaurice Smith acknowledged in his statement that “the peaceful demonstrations by some of our players" haven't been universally supported, but "have generated a wide array of responses."

But, he added, "Those opinions are protected speech and a freedom that has been paid for by the sacrifice of men and women throughout history ... No man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights."

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Sara Kauss/FilmMagic via Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Meghan Linsey, the singer performing “The Star-Spangled Banner" at Sunday’s Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans game in Nashville, took a knee on a field with no players present after finishing her rendition of the national anthem.

Linsey, a former contestant on "The Voice," was receiving rapturous applause for her performance at at Nissan Stadium when she chose to bend down on one knee -- a move that has become political symbol over the past year and particularly over the weekend after President Trump called for the firing of NFL players who kneel in protest during the anthem.

On Sunday afternoon, both the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans made separate announcements that nobody from either team would be on the sidelines for the anthem.

"As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic," the Titans' statement said.

The Seahawks players statement said, "As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing work towards equality and justice for all."

The protests come in response to the president's comments at a rally Friday night in Alabama when he said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now, out."

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