Anyone who things politics and sports don't belong together had a painful Sunday watching NFL games across the country.

Even across the pond in England, players on the Ravens and Jaguars locked arms in protest against not only the racial injustice that arguably cost Colin Kaepernick a job, but also in defiance of a saber-rattling president and in support of free speach in the United States.

In Huntsville, Alabama, President Donald Trump said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired."

In London, even the Jaguars owner joined his players. In the U.S., owners like the Eagles' Jeffrey Lurie spoke out in support of the player right to free speech.


And just prior to their game against the Giants, players from Philly and New York joined arms — along with coaches and owners. Eagles players did not take a knee or sit as Trump provoked them to do but three Giants players did.

Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison took knees, the first time any Giants players have protested.

The players had law enforcement officials and military personnel mixed in tyring the anthem.

Malcolm Jenkins, who has protested over the last two years with a quiet raised fist during the anthem in support of the ideals Kaepernick supported last year when he took a knee, led the Eagles out of the locker room and once again held his fist high with Lurie on the field not far from him joining with Brandon Graham. Torrey Smith raised a fist as well for the first time.

The protests stretched across the country, with the Steelers refusing to even take the field until after the anthem concludes. 

A large portion of NFL owners supported Trump's presidential campaign, but even ally Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, released a statement supporting his players.

"Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful," Kraft said.

Even the NFL's commissioner Roger Goodell made a point of speaking out against Trump.

"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture," Goodell said in a statement. "There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."

Trump responded with a tweet, saying "Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!"

It will be interesting to see how long the NFL makes its stand in support of free speech — and continues to toe the line as a vehicle for social change in the USA, just as major league baseball did back in the 1940s and 50s.

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