American athletes and other celebrities took to social media to show support for NFL (National Football League) stars after US President Donald Trump criticised players for taking a knee during the national anthem.
Actresses, musicians and sports stars showed solidarity with the likes of NFL player Colin Kaepernick and other players across the league as they protested during the national anthem on Sunday (September 24), taking to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TakeTheKnee.
Kaepernick made headlines in August 2016 for refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice in the United States.
Trump commented on the trend at a rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, saying NFL owners should respond when a player bent the knee by getting “that son of a b**** off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
He followed up his comments with tweets on the issue on Saturday and Sunday.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Orange is the New Black actor Uzo Aduba said the decision to take a knee was “easy”.
Actor Jesse Williams, who starred in Grey’s Anatomy, shared a satirical cartoon depicting Kaepernick and two soldiers who are commenting that they “died for his (Kaepernick’s) right to sit or stand”.
Rosario Dawson posted a picture of herself taking the knee along with members of a New York youth club for girls.
Singer Stevie Wonder kneeled on stage during his concert at the Global Citizen Festival New York on Saturday (September 23) and said he was doing it “for America”.
MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 24, 2017
American rapper Diddy sent a video message to NFL players via Instagram telling them that taking a knee “has nothing to do with football” and that they should “do the math, stick together”.
Some players chose to show their support via their clothing, with athletes like Miami Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi wearing the slogan “I’m with Kap” on their t-shirts while the national anthem played.
Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi among players wearing T-shirts in support of Colin Kaepernick anthem protest before Sunday’s Jets game. Via
aldiazphoto</a> <a href="https://t.co/MI2g3af7qc">pic.twitter.com/MI2g3af7qc</a></p>— Miami Herald (MiamiHerald) September 24, 2017
Players at the Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars match could be seen linking arms and getting down on one knee as the Star-Spangled Banner played.
Ravens and Jaguars players come together in a display of unity before kickoff in London. pic.twitter.com/dy8JDzOBas— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 24, 2017
Oakland Raiders’ official Twitter account posted an image of their players sitting and locking arms as the national anthem played with the caption “united”.
United. pic.twitter.com/5rQI3G6oMb— OAKLANDRAIDERS (@RAIDERS) September 25, 2017
Finally, basketball legend LeBron James took to Twitter slamming Trump for his decision to retract fellow basketballer Stephen Curry’s invitation to visit the Whitehouse after Curry said he didn’t want to join his team – the Golden State Warriors – in visiting the US president’s home.