Bears lock arms, Steelers stay in locker room during national anthem Sunday

CHICAGO — Both football teams took a stand against President Donald Trump’s criticism of the NFL during Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.

All but one of the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the locker room during the national anthem. Members of the Chicago Bears locked arms.

The Chicago Bears released a statement prior to Sunday’s game:

The Chicago Bears are proud to support our players, coaches and all members of our organization to bring peace and unity together through football. What makes this the greatest country in the world are the liberties it was founded upon and the freedom to express oneself in a respectful and peaceful manner. Through important dialogue with our players and team, this divisive political situation has unified our franchise for the present and the future.

The game started at noon at Soldier Field.

NFL Sunday kicks off amid beef between players, Trump

President Donald Trump renewed his criticism Sunday of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, slamming the league’s ratings and saying players should be fired or suspended for such protests.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” he tweeted early Sunday.

The tweet came the morning after Trump took on two of the country’s most popular sports leagues by withdrawing the White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and by calling for NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag.”

Players and league officials, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, took issue with Trump’s remarks. Even singer Stevie Wonder had something to say, taking a knee at one of his concerts.

Analysts predict even more protests as the NFL’s Sunday games get underway with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens facing off in London this morning.

Here’s who else took a stand Sunday:

Baltimore Ravens

Six-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ Terrell Suggs was atop the list of Ravens players taking a knee before the game in London. Alongside him was retired Ravens legend Ray Lewis, who locked arms with wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Other coaches and players locked arms during the anthem.

Jacksonville Jaguars

At least a dozen Jaguars took a knee during the anthem, including defensive standouts Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey, as well as their No. 4 draft pick, running back Leonard Fournette.

Other players locked arms, as did the coaching staff and Pakistani-American team owner Shad Khan.

New Orleans Saints

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Atlanta Falcons

OAKLAND’S MAXWELL FIRST MLB PLAYER TO KNEEL DURING ANTHEM

Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics became the first major league baseball player to kneel during the national anthem Saturday, pulling the sport into a polarizing protest movement that has been criticized harshly by President Trump.

Before a home game against the Texas Rangers, Maxwell dropped to a knee just outside Oakland’s dugout. The 26-year-old rookie catcher pressed his right hand against his heart, and teammates stood in a line next to him. Teammate Mark Canha, who is white, put his right hand on one of Maxwell’s shoulders, and the two hugged after the anthem finished.

“Everybody watches sports and so everybody loves sports, so I felt this was the right thing for me to do personally,” Maxwell said.

The Athletics released a statement on Twitter shortly after the anthem, saying they “respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression” and “pride ourselves on being inclusive.”

The league also issued a statement: “Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together.”