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NFL players kneel, link arms for national anthem in protest

NFL players used the national anthem to show their defiance to President Donald Trump's criticism, with at least 100 players kneeling or sitting in protest and one team staying in the locker room.

Most teams in the early afternoon games locked arms in solidarity. At least three team owners joined their players.

More than 100 players sat or knelt, the form of protest started last season by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick is now a free agent, and supporters believe teams have avoided signing him because of his protest.

The Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room as the national anthem played before their game with the Chicago Bears. Coach Mike Tomlin stood by himself on the sideline.

How each team would observe the national anthem emerged as the center of attention on this NFL Sunday in the wake of Trump's critical remarks toward players who don't stand for the anthem.

Tomlin had said before the game that Pittsburgh's players would remain in the locker room and that "we're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda." Tomlin added that the Steelers made this choice "not to be disrespectful to the anthem but to remove ourselves from this circumstance. People shouldn't have to choose."

At Wembley Stadium,  two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and "God Save The Queen," the national anthem of Britain.

No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.

During games on Sunday in America, players and coaches linked arms and knelt during the national anthem while the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears.

President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.