Jags, Ravens Defy President, Kneel In Protest Before Game At Wembley Stadium
Dozens of NFL players "knelt as their country's national anthem was played before a match at Wembley Stadium" on Sunday, according to Will Pavia of the LONDON TIMES. The demonstration came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump "denounced such protests and called on fans to boycott games." As many as 30 players and staff from the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars "went down on bended knee" as the U.S. national anthem was played. Players and staff from both teams stood for "God Save the Queen" (LONDON TIMES, 9/24). In Washington, Cindy Boren reported when taking the field in London, "Ravens Coach John Harbaugh joined his players, linking arms, and Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis took a knee." Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan, who contributed $1M to the Trump inauguration, "locked arms with his players and the Jaguars' coaches in what is believed to be the first visible participation in relation to anthem protests by a league owner" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/24). In London, Sean Ingle wrote "some say sport and politics should not mix." But after Trump's "explosive tweets" over the weekend, it was "impossible to see how the two were not conjoined." Jaguars player A.J. Bouye said, "I'm not going to lie. I was pissed off. I don't know the president as a man but what he's saying about us, he's disrespecting our moms." Meanwhile, Khan, the only non-white and only Muslim owner in the NFL, backed his players. Khan: "We have a lot of work to do 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 differ at times, we can and should be united in an effort to be better as people and as a nation" (GUARDIAN, 9/24).