In a row that has expanded from NFL to Major League Baseball (MLB) and widespread condemnation from those within the National Basketball Association (NBA) has been targeted at Trump following his aggressive comments urging owners to sack players who kneel during the national anthem in a show of defiance.
In addition to Tennessee and Seattle, only the Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room en masse.
Other players including Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant sharply criticised Trump. Vikings players, coaches, general manager and owners locked arms in unity, then went out and dominated Tampa Bay 34-17.
Did national anthem protests and President Trump's harsh criticism of them hurt the NFL's ratings on Sunday?
I think it's a very important thing for the NFL to not allow people to kneel during the playing of our national anthem, to respect our country and to respect our flag.
They loved it in Alabama. At least seven of them did, joined by more than a dozen Jacksonville Jaguars, before the teams played at Wembley Stadium in London.
"All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests / Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK", he wrote on Twitter. Many of those who booed, however, cheered at the end when the Titans beat the Seahawks 33-27 and improved to 2-1 on the season. "We just wanted to send a message of not standing for disrespect".
"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday".
Now, an American Legion Post in western MA is protesting the NFL.
Players, owners and commissioners past and present chastised the president for his divisive remarks, but the angriest responses came from players upset that he'd insulted their mothers.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday night in New Jersey, Trump said players and coaches locking arms was a display of "solidarity" that he approved of.
Trump has a history of playing the race card, which may fuel some of his support among white working-class voters. So did Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans and a contributor to the Trump campaign. "He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country". Their efforts both on and off the field help bring people together and make our community stronger.
An explanation for the drop might be more than just politics. I think it's very disrespectful to our country.
To football players, Martinez advised they chose a different way to protest what he said is a legitimate demand, so their protest doesn't offend soldiers and veterans.
He also urged a boycott of National Football League games - triggering protests by dozens of players, coaches and some owners before Sunday's games. But in doing so, he continued to display his lack of understanding of, or empathy for, the reasons why the protests began in the first place.
Trump's comments on Friday night shined a spotlight on the league and the protests, leading the networks to change up their planned broadcasts of games and the anthems preceding them.
"This isn't about the President being against anyone", Sanders said.
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