Jaguars to kneel before national anthem Sunday, then stand

Team releases statement after some players took a knee or locked arms


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars say they plan to kneel before the national anthem Sunday, but then stand for the anthem.

"The United States flag and our national anthem are both strong sources of inspiration and unity. Our respect for both is sincere," the Jaguars said in a statement. "Given recent events and remarks, however, we felt it was time last weekend to shine a light on the serious issues of inequality and social injustice that exist in our country."

The team released the statement Saturday after about a dozen players took a knee on the Jaguars sideline, flanked by teammates who were locking arms. On one end, owner Shad Khan was between players, locking arms in solidarity.

"We want to make it clear that we never intended in any way to show disrespect towards the U.S. military community, first responders, our flag or our national anthem," the team said. "We love and respect everyone who serves and has made sacrifices for the United States in the past, today and the future. That is especially true in our hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

"We are a very diverse group, much like our country as a whole. So we may not see eye to eye on everything, but we will be a team undivided."

The Jaguars said they will play to win and represent the city with honor, and that they are committed to furthering the conversation and taking action to effect positive change.

"In that spirit, the Jacksonville Jaguars -- every one of us -- prior to the national anthem on Sunday will kneel to pray for change, progress and equality for everyone who calls the United States their home," the Jaguars said. "We hope others will pray along with us. We are all in this together."

The Jaguars said they will then stand together as a team Sunday and going forward to honor the flag and national anthem.