As Sunday dawned, America wondered what to expect from the NFL after nearly 36 hours of barbs being thrown between President Donald Trump and a number of players who have chosen not to stand for the national anthem that plays at the start of every game.
It started with the president's comments in Alabama at a Friday night rally:
“We're proud of our country. We respect our flag. Wouldn't you love to see one of our NFL owners when someone disrespects our flag to say, 'Get that son of a b***h off the field right now ... he's fired!'”
Players and coaches responded, and then the rumors began to fly on Saturday, suggesting that hundreds of players might be ready to strike back against Trump by kneeling in much larger numbers.
Early Sunday morning, although the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars were not even playing on U.S. soil (their Sunday game was in the U.K.), things kicked off with a powerful display:
Ravens and Jaguars players kneeling during National Anthem in England pic.twitter.com/GhthyfIEe3
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) September 24, 2017
Most of the Ravens were on their knees as the anthem played:
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) September 24, 2017
Take note of the guy in the glasses — it's Ray Lewis, retired Ravens legend:
— CNN (@CNN) September 24, 2017
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh joined his team on the field as well:
John Harbaugh locking arms with the Ravens. pic.twitter.com/wlLK8Bky70
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 24, 2017
And Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti released a statement supporting his team's choice, calling the move “democracy in its highest form”:
Statement from Owner Steve Bisciotti. pic.twitter.com/bdKWJ4UpCy
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 24, 2017
On the other side of the field, the Jaguars made a similar showing. All players and coaching staff who chose not to kneel stood arm in arm, putting up a unified front. Running back Leonard Fournette (No. 22) stood, spreading his arms across the shoulders of his teammates as they knelt:
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) September 24, 2017
Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined his team on the field, locking arms and standing defiantly as the anthem played:
Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan: pic.twitter.com/aMO8cHDWYb
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 24, 2017
What a way to start #TakeAKnee Sunday.