NFL players kneel, raise fists, lock arms during national anthem

Last Updated Sep 24, 2017 10:06 PM EDT

NFL players across the league protested during the national anthem Sunday in defiance of President Trump, who said that players who kneel during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be fired.

Many players sat, kneeled, raised fists or stayed inside locker rooms as the anthem played before each game, and as team owners encouraged players to express themselves. Others locked arms in a show of unity.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unsigned, started the kneeling movement in 2016 to protest racial injustice in America. Activists and critics of the league believe Kaepernick has been blacklisted for his protests. On Sunday, players with the Miami Dolphins wore shirts that read "#ImWithKap" during pregame warm-ups.

The demonstrations began Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. Nearly two dozen players, including Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee. Other players on both teams who remained standing locked arms with Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series

Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match, Sept. 24, 2017. 

Reuters

The Seattle Seahawks announced they would not participate in the anthem as a team. "We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all,"  the team said in a statement.

Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, announced they would remain in the locker room during the anthem. "We're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda," Tomlin told CBS Sports. However, one Steelers player, Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, stood alone outside the stadium's tunnel while the anthem played.

Here is a look at the demonstrations that unfolded Sunday:

Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills

Virgil Green of the Denver Broncos raises his fist during the American National Anthem before an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y.

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears

Pittsburgh Steelers v Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears lock arms for the national anthem prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field on Sept. 24, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Chicago Bears

Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands by himself in the tunnel for the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sept. 24, 2017 in Chicago, Ill.

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Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions

Members of the Detroit Lions take a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on Sept. 24, 2017 in Detroit, Mich.

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Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions

Members of the Atlanta Falcons football team Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe take a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Sept. 24, 2017 in Detroit, Mich.

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Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts

Browns Colts Football

Members of the Cleveland Browns take a knee during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

AP
Browns Colts Football

Members of the Indianapolis Colts take a knee during the nation anthem before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

AP

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Buccaneers Vikings Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson, center, takes a knee during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sun., Sept. 24, 2017, in Minneapolis.

AP

Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots

Houston Texans v New England Patriots

Members of the New England Patriots kneel during the National Anthem before a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Mass.

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Houston Texans v New England Patriots

Members of the Houston Texans link arms along the sideline as the National Anthem is played before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Mass.

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Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets

"It just amazes me with everything else going in this world -- especially concerning the U.S. -- that's what you concerned about, my man? You're the leader of the free world... "As a man, a father, as an African American man, as someone in the NFL, as one of those son of b-----s, yeah I took it personally," Thomas told reporters after the game. "But it's bigger than me."

"I've got a daughter and she's going to have to live in this world. And I gotta do what I got to do to make sure she can look at her dad and be like 'Hey, you did something to try and make a change.'"

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets

Laremy Tunsil #67, Maurice Smith #27 and Julius Thomas #89 kneel with Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins during the National Anthem prior to an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, N.J.

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New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles

Members of the Philadelphia Eagles link arms during the national anthem before the game against the New York Giants on Sept. 24, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.

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New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

"Personally, I'm disappointed in the comments that were made. I think we need a little bit more wisdom in [the White House]," Saints head coach Sean Payton said in a news conference. "I want that guy to be one of the smarter guys in the room and it seems like every time he's opening up his mouth it's something that is dividing our country and not pulling us together, and that has nothing to do with my take on the anthem."

Saints Panthers Football

New Orleans Saints players sit on the bench during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sun., Sept. 24, 2017.

AP

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers

Cincinnati Bengals vs Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers players sit in protest during the national anthem prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on Sept. 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wis.

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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs takes a knee during the National Anthem before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on Sept. 24, 2017 in Carson, Calif.

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Chiefs Chargers Football

Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram knees in protest during the National Anthem before an NFL football game against the against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sun., Sept. 24, 2017, in Carson, Calif.

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Oakland Raiders vs. Washington Redskins

Oakland Raiders v Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins players during the the national anthem before the game against the Oakland Raiders at FedExField on Sept. 4, 2017 in Landover, Md.

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