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Bears Chairman George McCaskey Issues Statement: 'Proud To Support' Freedom To Express

By Chris Emma--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Bears chairman George McCaskey joined many of his peers around the league in issuing a statement Sunday responding to recent comments of President Donald Trump.

On Friday night at a rally in Alabama, Trump called out NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now," Trump said. "Out. He's fired. He's fired!"

Trump has since tweeted several more times, including Sunday morning, saying, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"

Bears, Steelers respond to Trump's directives with activism during anthem

NFL owners have joined commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith in condemning Trump's comments. The statement from McCaskey followed Sunday morning.

"The Chicago Bears are proud to support our players, coaches and all members of our organization to bring peace and unity together through football," McCaskey said. "What makes this the greatest country in the world are the liberties it was founded upon and the freedom to express oneself in a respectful and peaceful manner. Through important dialogue with our players and team, this divisive political situation has unified our franchise for the present and the future."

The Bears followed through with their first activism during the national anthem, with many players, coaches and team personnel members locking arms in solidarity. The Steelers did not take the field for the anthem, waiting until the conclusion before running out of the tunnel.

The Steelers' exceptions were head coach Mike Tomlin, who stood along on the sidelines, and guard Alejando Villanueva, who stood with his hand over his heart outside the tunnel. Villanueva served in the U.S. Army prior to joining the NFL.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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