President Trump to NFL players: 'Find another way to protest'
President Donald Trump reacted Friday to NFL player demonstrations during the national anthem on Thursday night, saying that "a football game ... is no place to protest" and calling for players who protest to be suspended without pay.
In Miami, Dolphins players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt behind teammates who lined up standing along the sideline. Defensive end Robert Quinn stood and raised his right fist, as he did during the anthem last season while with the Los Angeles Rams.
Elsewhere, Jaguars Telvin Smith, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon were not on the field when the anthem was played before their home game against New Orleans, and team officials said it would be up to the players to explain why they weren't on the field. The players joined the rest of their teammates several moments later. In Baltimore, both teams stood, but while most of the Ravens lined up shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, second-year linebacker Tim Williams stood alone in front of the bench with his back toward the field. And in Seattle, Seahawks Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson and Duane Brown ran into the tunnel leading to the team's locker room before the playing of the anthem.
Early Friday, Trump responded on Twitter.
Trump has been a frequent critic of the demonstrations. He has called for the NFL to discipline players who protest during the anthem, including as recently as last month, when he tweeted, "First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!"
The league and the players' union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when "The Star-Spangled Banner'' is played, or remain in the locker room.
"There has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement issued Thursday night. "The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.
"We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.