Prior to their games on Sunday, President Donald Trump issued a stern message for all NFL players.
What did he say?
In a tweet, Trump urged all players to stand for the national anthem when it plays before their game. He told players it is "very important" to "respect our flag and our country."
Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1506810415.0
What are teams planning?
So far, we know the plans of at least five NFL teams. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, who played on Thursday night, both stood in reverence during the national anthem. Dallas Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant said on Friday that his team will stand on Sunday — and for the remainder of the season — in unity during the anthem.
However, the plans of most other clubs remain unknown. The Denver Broncos said they will stand during the anthem, while New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said his team while stand during the anthem, but kneel just before.
As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem & stand together during the anthem.— Drew Brees (@Drew Brees) 1506679450.0
Why the protests?
NFL players, and more recently players across other sports, have kneeled during the national anthem at games to protest police brutality and systemic racism in the U.S. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick initiated the protests last season, and they have been ongoing since.
The protests were magnified last week after Trump said at an Alabama rally that each anthem protester is a "son of a b***h." Those comments led to widespread outrage, and caused more than 200 NFL players to protest the anthem last weekend. More than anything, it led to unity in the NFL against the president.