Less than three hours after President #Trump called on NFL owners to suspend or fire players who protest during the national anthem, the #Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars — the first teams to play Sunday — linked arms or took a knee during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the teams 9:30 a.m. Eastern kickoff in London’s Wembley Stadium.
The reaction caps a volatile weekend in which the president angrily referred to protesters like Colin #Kaepernick, the free agent whose protest started this movement, as a “son of a bitch” and looped in the NBA and Golden State Warriors, telling them they were not invited to visit the White House to celebrate their NBA title. That prompted LeBron James, who lost to Golden State in the Finals in June, to retort that the president is “a bum.” Along the way, the commissioners of both the NBA and NFL weighed in, along with the head of the NFL Players Association.
That came to a head Sunday morning, shortly after Trump tweeted again that owners should suspend or fire players.
Taking the field in London, Ravens Coach John Harbaugh joined his players, linking arms, and Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis took a knee. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who had contributed $1 million to the Trump inauguration, locked arms with his players and the Jaguars’ coaches in what is believed to be the first visible participation in relation to anthem protests by a league owner.
One Ravens player stood alone, but seemed to be in prayer. All players appeared to stand for the playing of the British anthem, “God Save the Queen.”