A few NFL teams seem to be changing their stance amid increased criticism and calls from fans to boycott the league after some 200 players knelt to protest recently.
Before Thursday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, every single player on both sides of the field stood during the national anthem.
All players, coaches, and staff from both teams stood but not all players had their hands on their hearts—some players linked arms as American country singer Tyler Farr sang, Fox News reported.
As cameras panned to the fans at the Lambeau Field in Wisconsin, some fans could be seen locking arms as well. Others were seen waving American flags or saluting the large flag being stretched on the field.
As the anthem finished, the entire stadium erupted in applause and cheers, Fox News reported.
The scene at the game can be seen below.
— NFL (@NFL) September 29, 2017
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 29, 2017
The increased show of teamwork and solidarity comes after weeks of controversial protests from various NFL teams.
It also comes after President Donald Trump’s comments criticizing players and the league for disrespecting the nation’s flag and country.
“Tremendous backlash against the NFL and its players for disrespect of our Country.
#StandForOurAnthem” Trump tweeted on Sept. 25.
Tremendous backlash against the NFL and its players for disrespect of our Country.#StandForOurAnthem??
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
But some critics like Bryon York, the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, still questioned why some players did not place their hands on their heart.
Just don't get why the linked-arms stance during national anthem is somehow better than kneeling. Ever-so slightly less disrespectful?
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 29, 2017
On Tuesday, the Packers released a statement asking fans to stand and lock arms during the anthem before Thursday night’s game.
“Those of us joining arms on Thursday will be different in so many ways, but one thing that binds us together is that we are all individuals who want to help make our society, our country, and our world a better place. We believe that in diversity there can be UNI-versity” the statement said.
Likewise, the Chicago Bears also released a similar statement as the entire team stood on the field on Sunday during the anthem, with most of them linking arms, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In a statement from Bears Chairman George McCaskey on Sept. 24, McCaskey said that the Bears “are proud to support our players, coaches, and all members of our organization to bring peace and unity together through football.
“This divisive political situation has unified our franchise for the present and future,” the statement said.
Statement from Chicago Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey. pic.twitter.com/36u9aboXOO
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 24, 2017