Wednesday 21 March 2018

NFL players defy Donald Trump for a second week by kneeling during the US national anthem

New Orleans Saints players kneel down before the U.S. anthem was played Credit: AP Matt Dunham

Mike Wright

American football players defied Donald Trump for a second week running by taking a knee during the national anthem before a game at Wembley Stadium.

Three Miami Dolphins players dropped to one knee during the anthem ahead of their game today against New Orleans Saints continuing the demonstration, which started as a protest over police violence against black men.

New Orleans Saints players also protested by taking a knee together before the national anthem. The renew protests came after President Trump tweeted yesterday calling on players to stand and ‘respect our flag’.

He said: “Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!”

The gesture was started by player Colin Kaepernick, who first took a knee during the anthem last year in a protest against shootings of black men by white police officers.

At the time only a handful of players followed his lead but Mr Trump reignited the controversy last month at a rally in Alabama.

He said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he is fired.'"

Later Mr Trump insisted the issue was nothing to do with race but about respecting the American flag.

Mr Trump’s comments touched off protests at NFL and baseball games across America with dozens of players dropping to one knee during the national anthem.

A 97-year-old US Second World War veteran, John Middlemas, also publicly 'took the knee' in support of NFL players saying "those kids have every right to protest".

This week Mr Trump maintained his social media onslaught against the protesting NFL players, posting a video on his Facebook page of 1,900 ice hockey fans ‘respecting’ the US flag.

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