GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A majority of the Green Bay Packers locked arms during the national anthem Sunday, a response to President Donald Trump's calls for the NFL to fire players who take a knee to protest.
Packers Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, and Kevin King sat during the anthem.
Teams from across the league, including the Packers, issued statements critical of the president for his comments on players. Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said, "We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely."
The president has issued more than one dozen tweets about the protest. In one tweet, he said "Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable."
After Sunday's win over the Bengals, the Packers spoke about the topic of the day.
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback: “I used social media this morning to address some of that. On this team we are going to keep choosing love over hate. Unity over division and that’s what it was to us in talking last night and this morning. The few of us who linked arms just wanted to show a united front. I know personally my Twitter and social media was receiving a lot of positivity but a lot of hatred as well which is interesting. I know it’s probably 1/10th or 1/100th maybe of some of my black teammates who have been using their platform to try and make a difference but again this was about unity and we respect our men and women in uniform. We respect our troops. We love them. We appreciate what they do for us. Today was about using our platform to promote love and unity and acceptance and togetherness and I hope we did that.”
Head Coach Mike McCarthy: “We talked about it in the team meeting last night and I actually read Mark Murphy’s statement to the team and I thought our players stood behind that. I think Mark Murphy said it best. We support our players and we all understand what’s going on and we respect the flag and all the above. We want to be a part of the positive influence of what needs to be done.”
Kevin King, cornerback: "I'm not sure if it's something I plan on doing every game because my grandpa is a veteran and I have no disrespect for that, but in terms of what's going on recently, but I thought today was a great opportunity to show my support and what I thought was right."
Morgan Burnett, safety: "I think guys did what they felt was right. You can see the unity around the league and that's the most important thing because that's what you want to the youth to see."