Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers locked arms during the national anthem before their NFL football game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin.
“This is not a protest, this is a unified demonstration of love and solidarity,” Rodgers, 33, said before the game, according to CBS’ Tracy Wolfson. “It’s a call to connect. This is about unity and love and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people.”
Adding, “But we’ve got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we’re going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we’re going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together.”
The Bears also opted to not take a knee in favor of linking arms also.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 29, 2017
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 29, 2017
Several teams, including the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, and the Miami Dolphins, have already opted for a show of unity amid criticism from President Donald Trump.
Dallas Cowboys players – along with billionaire owner and Trump supporter Jerry Jones – dropped to one knee on the field prior to the national anthem during Monday’s game in Glendale. They then stood and locked arms and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” together.
Athletes and celebrities, including Stevie Wonder, Diddy and Uzo Aduba, continue to show their solidarity with NFL players like Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines in Aug. 2016 for refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice in the United States.
Kaepernick protested by sitting during the anthem, while those who have taken up his cause have opted to take a knee as “The Star Spangled Banner” plays and the protest is known known as taking a knee because of that.
During a rally speech in Alabama on Friday, Trump stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b—h off the field right now. Out, you’re fired.’ ”
In addition, the president had a series of follow-up tweets. “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” he wrote. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”