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Jets to decide Saturday whether they'll unite again for anthem

FLORHAM PARK -- The New York Jets will decide Saturday night at their team meeting what, if any, action they will take on Sunday when the national anthem is played at MetLife Stadium prior to their 1 p.m. kickoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jets (1-2) decided at last Saturday night’s team meeting to link arms prior to their 20-6 win over the Miami Dolphins. The Jets' acting owner, Christopher Johnson, and GM Mike Maccagnan linked arms with players.

Several players said Friday that no decision had been made regarding the Jaguars game. But they felt good about linking arms before the win over Miami, which also was played at MetLife.

"We just want to unify whatever we do," punter Chandler Catanzaro told ESPN.com “I thought it was really cool how we stood and locked arms signifying that we’re together in this. I really liked what we did on Sunday."

When asked about the actions other NFL teams have taken -- the Packers and Bears also linked arms prior to their Thursday night game -- Jets coach Todd Bowles said he hoped the reasons for the actions weren’t being forgotten.

"You have to ask them what they come together for," Bowles said Friday after practice. “You can’t lose sight of the narrative. If everybody has the narrative right, then it’s a great thing. If they don’t and are doing it for different reasons, then it’s not."

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to kneel during the anthem when he did so during a preseason game to protest racial injustice. His actions went unnoticed for weeks until several other players, all of color, began following his lead.

The issue came to the forefront when white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia. Heather Heyer, 32, who was there to oppose the rally, was killed when she was struck by a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr., 22, of Ohio.

In addition to Heyer’s death, 34 people were injured and two Virginia state troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed. That prompted some white players to kneel or link arms with teammates.

"The issues are the things that happened in Charlottesville and you've got hurricane victims here and there," Bowles said earlier this week. “You've got to focus on the issues, because the he-said, she-said and the Twitter beef and all that stuff really doesn't matter."

Bowles was referring to tweets posted by President Trump. The president tweeted that players who did not stand for the flag should be fired.

At a rally last Friday, he called on owners to fire players that did not stand for the pregame national anthem.

“Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out," Trump said. “He’s fired. He’s fired!"

The following night the Jets decided to link arms. Bowles said the players were free to offer their opinions, but none did.

"We locked arms because we're united," Bowles said. “We're trying to show that we can get things done as a country if we unite together. We're trying to show unity within our team. We're trying to show unity for the league. And we're trying to show unity for everything all together that's inclusive."

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