It was a day full of criticism from Donald Trump, political protests, linked arms, players taking a knee or not coming on the field at all during the national anthem, and renewed pleas for unity from the league. The NFL players, fans and owners took sides on Sunday night. In a movement that has sparked conversation around the world and cause division over a 100 players took part in anthem protests.
Demonstrations against racial injustice and police violence began last year but intensified after Mr Trump said players who failed to stand should be fired or suspended.
Some fans booed their own teams and even burned their shirts in response.
During Sunday’s NFL games:
- Neither the Seattle Seahawks nor the Tennessee Titans turned out for the national anthem before kick-off at their game, hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same in Chicago (except Alejandro Villanueva, a veteran who served in Afghanistan)
- The Chicago Bears stood on the sidelines with their arms locked, as did New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady and teammates at another game. Some Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals players also linked arms
- The anthem singer at the Seahawks-Titans game kneeled at the end of the performance, as did singer at the Lions-Falcons game, who also raised his fist
- Philadelphia Eagles fans clashed with protesters ahead of a game in their home city against the New York Giants
- Three NFL owners who donated $1m apiece to the president’s inauguration either joined the protests or criticized him.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan locked arms with his players, in an unusual scene, as owners rarely join players on the pitch.
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder also linked arms with cornerbacks as the national anthem played before Sunday night’s game.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a personal friend of Mr Trump, said he was “deeply disappointed” by his “tone”.
Meanwhile Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a golf buddy of Mr Trump, told a Boston radio show on Monday the president’s comments were “just divisive”.