Column: With the country watching, the NFL responds

The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Following President Trump’s remarks on Friday, the country awaited the response from the NFL on Sunday and the league certainly responded.

The NFL has had history with the national anthem dating back to last year starting with free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protest of the national anthem. What Kaepernick started has definitely caught on, as the hashtag #TakeTheKnee trended on Twitter Sunday.

Every NFL team responded to Trump in some way on Sunday. The majority of teams locked arms during the national anthem, while players on some teams knelt and others raised fists.

Some owners joined their teams on the sidelines for the anthem including Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who said it was a “privilege” to stand on the sidelines with his team.

Some notable protests from Sunday included LeSean McCoy, who continued to stretch while the anthem played Sunday in Buffalo.

With the exception of one player, who was a former US Army Ranger, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not even take the field until the anthem was over. The Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks followed suit.

An emotional Michael Thomas of the Miami Dolphins fought back tears after his game when talking about the protests and President Trump.

Perhaps none were more vocal on Sunday than Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins. The elite cornerback talked to the press for twenty minutes after Sunday night’s game, even waving off a Redskins official who tried to wrap up the interviews.

Following Sunday’s events, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the MMQB’s Peter King  he was not surprised by what happened.

"They reflected the frustration, the disappointment, of the players over the divisive rhetoric we heard [from Trump],” Goodell said.

Nor should he be surprised. As much as baseball likes to think its America’s game, football is the number one sport in this country. It owns a day of the week. What happened on Sunday will be remembered for a very long time, and Goodell is completely fine with that.

“The way we reacted today, and this weekend, made me proud,” Goodell said. “I’m proud of our league.”


Connor Donahue is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering men’s ice hockey. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets @conn_donahue.