President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that National Football League team owners should fire players who take a knee during the national anthem.
Atlanta Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank and others disagreed.
In a statement, Blank said players are at their best when everyone is “working together, building unity and including everyone’s voice,” the AJC reported.
“We are at our very best when we are working together, building unity and including everyone’s voice in a constructive dialogue. Creating division or demonizing viewpoints that are different than our own accomplished nothing positive and undermines our collective ability to achieve the ideals of our democracy,” Blank said in the statement.
“The NFL has historically been a strong catalyst for positive change and I’m proud of the way our players coaches and staff use that platform to give back to our community and strive to be good citizens making a positive impact on this and future generations.”
Blank stood arm-in-arm with Falcons players on the field during the national anthem before an NFL game against the Detroit Lions Sunday.
The Associated Press reported that at least 100 NFL players kneeled or sat in protest Sunday.
In England, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood with his players.
“It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during the anthem.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room as the national anthem played before their game with the Chicago Bears. Coach Mike Tomlin stood by himself on the sideline.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said President Trump’s tweets showed "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL."