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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) — Several teams responded to President Donald Trump’s NFL comments in various forms of protest during the National Anthem prior to their games.
Politics overshadowed plays and passes across the NFL Sunday, as teams showed their defiance to the president’s criticism Friday of NFL players protesting the National Anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b**** off the field right now, he’s fired,” Trump asked.
His comments prompted larger protests from teams like the Jaguars, joined by team owner Shad Khan, as well as Dolphins owner Stephen Ross who locked arms with his players, and other NFL teams whose players, coaches and owners stood in solidarity.
The Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers stayed off the field for the anthem.
“Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from this circumstance,” said Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a U.S. Army veteran, stood near the tunnel’s entrance with his hand over his heart during the anthem.
At the NFL headquarters in New York, Commissioner Roger Goodell said President Trump’s comments showed a lack of respect for the league and its players. And Sunday, his predecessor, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, agreed, calling the President’s comments insulting and disgraceful.
“When it comes to this recent spat with the NFL, look, there are far more important things that we ought to be focusing on,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).
On the Sunday morning shows, Republican and Democratic lawmakers weighed in.
“I’ve always said sports and the arts will bring America together,” said Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “It’s where we put our differences aside. Let’s not have the president of the United States do anything but bring people together.”
Trump tweeted about the continued protests Sunday afternoon.
The controversy hasn’t thwarted the NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins’ plans to visit the White House.