Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly got to their feet and stood, with arms linked, during the anthem.

Charlotte Jones Anderson, a team executive and the daughter of the owner, said taking a knee was "a statement for equality and as a representation of unity."

Some fans at University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Cowboys were taking on the Cardinals, booed.

Arizona players also stood and linked arms during the anthem.

They joined about 200 players, including Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, who Sunday kneeled, raised fists or stood with locked arms in solidarity.

Trump on Monday said his criticism of kneeling players "has nothing to do with race." He tweeted that the issue is "about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!"

Trump pointed to NASCAR supporters, writing, "They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag — they said it loud and clear!" But Dale Earnhardt Jr., long NASCAR's most popular driver, tweeted Monday: "All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK."

Other Monday anthem developments:

• The jersey of tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a West Point graduate and Army veteran who was the only Steeler to leave the locker room and stand for the anthem Sunday, became the NFL's best seller. Villanueva said he was embarrassed about standing alone — he and other captains had agreed to stand together, but there was a mixup in the chaotic locker room and he appeared to have gone rogue. "I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only," he said.

• Bills Hall of Fame quarterback and team employee Jim Kelly said he lost respect for Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy, who spent part of the anthem sitting and stretching. Kelly said the only time he will ever kneel is to pray.

• Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has called Trump a good friend, said Trump's comments were "just divisive."

ADVERTISERS: Nike said it "supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society." … Anheuser-Busch said it supports both the national anthem and freedom of speech.

LEBRON: Cavaliers star LeBron James said Monday that Trump doesn't understand how many kids are looking up to the president for guidance, leadership and words of encouragement. "That's what makes me more sick than anything," he said. James referred to Trump as "that guy," and said Trump "doesn't understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country."

MLB: Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said: "We will always respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression."

NHL: Commissioner Gary Bettman said he respects players' views on political and social issues and "people are going to have to decide what makes them comfortable."

OTHER VOICES: The leaders of the nation's two biggest veterans' groups criticized the anthem protests. American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan said the playing of the national anthem should be a time of unity, and that professional athletes who fail to show respect are "misguided and ungrateful." Keith Harman, the national commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, says the player protests don't "wash with millions of military veterans who have and continue to wear real uniforms on real battlefields around the globe."

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