LONDON - About two dozen players, including Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, took a knee Sunday during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium.
Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and "God Save The Queen," the national anthem of Britain.
Following the national anthem, Khan issued the following statement:
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.
No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.
President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
After the game, Trump published the following tweet in regards to the players kneeling during the national anthem:
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
It was a subject that everyone News4Jax spoke with Sunday night had an opinion on. Whether they were for or against the decision to take a knee, both sides had points to share.
We visited several bars in town to see how people felt about what social media coined as the "Take a Knee" protest being practiced by our home team.
"I feel that if you can't stand for the people that passed before you to give you the opportunity to play the game that you're playing, and you can't stand for those folks, my God, I'm not spending my dollar at your game," Mike Wallace said.
Wallace is just one of several season ticket holder fans we spoke with. He said he's not going back to another Jags game.
Another man, who has a Jags tattoo, also disagreed with the players kneeling, but some said they support the protest.
"Personally, I don't have an issue with it whatsoever, honestly," Austin Sherrill said. "I respect the fact that they did that. I feel like the USA is a country that was born on protests and the fact that they did that shows solidarity with what I assume to be our country's strong points."
Although we found people on both sides, most agreed that politics shouldn't be relevant in the NFL.
Copyright 2017 WJXT, Associated Press