Hashtag Take the Knee: The Universal Solidarity of the NFL

Official Chicago Bears Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman / @WandaW63 

It has been a very emotional week for the NFL to say the least. Last year a young man privately took a knee during the National Anthem in what he believed to be a personal statement of the oppression of his fellow human beings. One year later a response from the President of the United States has forced every single NFL team to respond with a sign of solidarity.

Early this morning in London, England, the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars answered the POTUS by several players taking a knee and others standing, but all locking arms in unity. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan stood pregame, locking arms with his players as he was the first owner to show his support.  Following the game he made this 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 from the President makes 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.”

Every team participated in support in one way or another. For example, all the players for the Pittsburgh Steelers did not leave the locker room during the national anthem, with the exception of left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan. He stood at the edge of the tunnel standing with his hand over his heart. As for the Chicago Bears, they stood, arms locked as a team with the full support of their coaches and owners.

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