JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - President Donald Trump’s remarks expressing his opposition to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem has caused a firestorm of controversy in the sports world.
Prior to Sunday’s first NFL game, a matchup in London between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens, dozens of players from both teams knelt during the "Star Spangled Banner."
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Other players, along with Jaguars owner Shad Khan, stood arm-in-arm.
Some people thought that by playing a continent away, the teams could avoid some controversy.
Being the first game on TV, however, had the opposite effect, and now they are at the center of the controversy.
News4Jax reporter Scott Johnson spoke to fans about their thoughts on the national anthem controversy.
Fans watching the game at Mudville Grill in the St. Nicholas neighborhood said they weren’t too happy with the players who knelt.
“I don’t entertain that thought. I think it’s not right,” Jaguars fan, Mark Brandvold said. “You’re an American. You’re a patriot. You should be standing.
“I don’t agree with that,” Jaguars fan Walter Cartategui said. “We need to stand up when we play the national anthem.”
The controversy started simmering over a year ago when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to kneel during the national anthem.
The controversy exploded Friday when Trump said players who don’t stand for the anthem should be fired.
This started a backlash has started in the sports world, as the social media hashtag “Take a Knee” took off. Fans like Bobby Burton said they are frustrated that politics has entered their favorite sport.
“I’m unhappy with both sides disgracing our freedom like that,” Burton said. “There’s no place in football.”
Khan issued the following statement after players knelt in London:
It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem.
Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms – race, faith, our views and our goals. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder. That’s why it was important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation.
While many players took a knee for the "Star Spangled Banner," all players stood while the British anthem "God Save the Queen" played
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