After President Donald Trump's fiery criticism against football players who protest during the national anthem, more NFL players than ever decided to take part in the protests on Sunday.
For example, before the New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans game, over 17 Patriots players knelt during the national anthem. Some of their teammates who were standing placed their hands on the players who were protesting.
While some were kneeling, one Patriots player — specifically a Navy Reserve officer — stood out during the song.
Lots of defensive players kneeling during the anthem pic.twitter.com/PZKruYE8ZR
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) September 24, 2017
The player standing at attention was long snapper Joe Cardona.
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) September 24, 2017
Cardona graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2015 and is a commissioned officer in the Navy. He was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round later that year.
Per regulations, members of the military who are not in uniform are to stand at attention while the “Star-Spangled Banner” plays.
Earlier this year, Cardona swore in two Navy members who decided to re-enlist after the Patriots' first joint practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While there were many protests on Sunday, Cardona was not the only service member who did not kneel.
As his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates and coaching staff were off the field during the national anthem, veteran Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva stood outside of the tunnel with his hand over his heart.
After the game, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters he "was hoping for 100 percent participation” in the protest.