INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – At least 130 NFL players from London to the west coast took the knee Sunday while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played.
Eight Colts players were among them.
The players linked arms along with their teammates, coaches and some managers in response to President Donald Trump’s profane speech and later tweets stating players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.
Many fans disagreed with the president’s use of profanity to describe the players and him indicating to a private company who should and shouldn’t be fired for an action of free speech.
But at least some agreed with the idea behind Trump’s message, stating that even though the players can protest whenever, they shouldn’t at work, especially during the national anthem.
“I think it’s shameful,” said Sam Morton. “I would like to see the Colts players leave the country and leave the team.”
At least one season ticket holder told FOX59 they won’t be buying again if players aren’t at least suspended.
But other fans say they’ll be upset if the players aren’t allowed to continue protesting if they want, saying they’re not disrespecting the military.
“You have the freedom to protest and it’s what our soldiers died for, it’s what our soldiers fought for,” said Rod Rodriguez, who traveled from New Jersey to see the Colts play.
Coach Chuck Pagano told reporters after the game the team made a decision to show solidarity on the issue of whether players should or shouldn’t be fired over protest.
“We talk about ‘us’, unity over self all the time and we wanted to be together on this thing and this is a united football team and united locker room,” said Pagano.
That sentiment was echoed across the NFL as team owners made statements denouncing the president’s comments, calling them “divisive” and mentioning all their players do for and donate to the community.
“I’m proud of, you know, their commitment and their compassion for this game and for the horseshoe, not only on the field, but off the field,” said Pagano.