NFL players reject Trump’s intimidation tactics, expand anthem protest (UPDATES)

Trump's bullying backfires.

Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, second from right, kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, second from right, kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

President Trump continued his intimidation campaign against NFL players on Sunday morning. Trump tweeted that players who kneel during the national anthem, a silent protest against racism, should be fired.

Trump’s tweets double down on comments he made in a speech in Alabama on Friday, when he said that any player who protests racism during the national anthem — protests started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick before the 2016 season — was a “son of a bitch.”

NFL players, however, do not appear to be intimidated.

Players continued their protests throughout the day on Sunday, opting to kneel, sit, lock arms, and even avoid the field altogether during the national anthem.

Entire teams stayed in the locker room during the national anthem

The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team announced that it would not take the field for the national anthem at its 1:00 pm ET game against the Chicago Bears. After the anthem finished, Steelers players reemerged from the locker room to some boos in the crowd.

The Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks kicked off the slate of late games at 4:00 p.m. ET. Both teams opted to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, leaving the field empty of players.

The Seahawks players did not leave their absence up for interpretation; they released a powerful statement before the game explaining that they would “not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.”

Players knelt during the national anthem

Protests kicked off early on Sunday. During a game played in London between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars that aired at 9:30 a.m. ET, numerous players knelt during the national anthem.

The trend continued during games that aired at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET.

A number of players from the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos knelt in protest.

Many players from the New England Patriots took a knee.

Several Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers players took a knee.

Los Angeles Chargers defensive ends Chris McCain and Melvin Ingram took a knee.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston knelt toward the bench and bowed his head.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was the most prominent white player to kneel.

The protests continued into the evening, as many Oakland Raiders players and a few players on Washington’s football team took the knee.

Players (and some owners) linked arms during the national anthem

Others who did not kneel locked arms in an apparent show of support.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who had previously expressed support for the protests on social media, linked arms with his teammates.

The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants linked arms, with some players raising fists. At least three New York Giants players knelt during the anthem: Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins, and Damon Harrison.

The entire New York Jets team and Cincinnati Bengals team linked arms.

Shahid Khan, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner and the only non-white owner in the league, linked arms with players. Khan participated in this expression of solidarity despite the fact that he previously donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.

Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington football team, also linked arms with players.

Players remained seated during the national anthem

A number of players on the New Orleans Saints remained seated as the anthem played.

At the Packers-Bengals game, most players linked arms. A few Packers — Kevin King, Martellus Bennett, and Lance Kendricks — also remained seated during the anthem.

Before their game against the Los Angeles Chargers, several Kansas City Chiefs players remained seated or knelt during the anthem, as some fans yelled at them to “stand up.”

The entire Oakland Raiders team sat down with their arms linked during the anthem.

National anthem singers took a knee

In Detroit, at the Falcons-Lions game, the singer of the national anthem took a knee.

At the Seahawks-Titans game, national anthem singer Megan Lindsey took a knee at the end of the song — which she sang to a field empty of players as they waited in the locker room.

Players showed their public support for Kaepernick

Miami Dolphins players showed their support for Colin Kaepernick — who, despite possessing superior talent to many quarterbacks on NFL rosters, has not been signed by a team this season — by donning “I’m with Kap” shirts.

This story has been updated throughout the day to include more information from Sunday’s football games.