Seahawks players elect not to participate in national anthem

Sep 24, 2017, 12:45 PM | Updated: 1:11 pm
In 2016, the Seahawks linked arms during the playing of the national anthem. (AP)...
In 2016, the Seahawks linked arms during the playing of the national anthem. (AP)

NASHVILLE – The Seahawks players announced they would not participate in the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Titans, a decision that was released by the team less than half an hour before kickoff was scheduled.

Here was the statement released by the team:

As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.

The Players of the Seattle Seahawks

The move comes two days after President Donald Trump brought more attention to the anthem protests of NFL players. Speaking to a crowd in Alabama, Trump asked rhetorically “wouldn’t it be great” if an NFL owner kicked a player off the field when he chose not to stand for the anthem and tell him, “You’re fired.”

The Titans announced their players will not participate in the anthem, either. Here was Tennessee’s statement:

“As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpatriotic.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers did not participate in the anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, which started at 10 a.m. Pacific.

The singer before the Seahawks-Titans game, “The Voice” runner-up Meghan Linsey, took a knee at the conclusion of the national anthem.

There was audible booing from the crowd after the performance of the national anthem. One fan in the second row directly behind the Titans bench was giving a thumbs-down gesture as the team took its place on the sidelines.

The Seahawks walked onto the field with arms locked before breaking into a jog to warm up.

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and head coach Pete Carroll were among NFL personalities who responded to Trump’s comments with statements of their own.

Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett has remained seated during the national anthem this season. Justin Britt began placing a hand on Bennett’s shoulder as he sat during the anthem.

The involvement of NFL players and coaches with the national anthem began in 2001 after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Prior to that, the anthem was performed before the teams took the field.

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