Washington Wizards link arms during national anthem

In another example of a sports team showing solidarity after President Trump criticized players that kneel rather than stand during the national anthem, the Washington Wizards NBA team locked arms ahead of their first game of the season on Wednesday.

The move came hours after Trump criticized the NFL for declining to implement a rule that would have required professional football players to stand for the anthem.

“The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. “Total disrespect for our great country!”


The NBA already has a formal rule in place requiring players to “stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.”

The NFL reportedly considered implementing a rule making it mandatory for players to stand for the anthem, but ultimately declined to do so at a league meeting Tuesday. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that, while the league would not implement such a rule, “everyone should stand for the national anthem.

Trump has feuded with the NFL in recent weeks, calling for the league to crackdown on players who take a knee in protest during the national anthem. He first began criticizing demonstrations last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to take a knee during the anthem as a way to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

The president, however, has called the protests disrespectful, urged NFL owners and coaches to fire players that take part in the demonstrations and encouraged supporters — and Vice President Pence — to walk out of games where athletes protest.

Players in multiple professional sports leagues have responded to Trump’s criticism by showing solidarity with their teams, including locking arms during the anthem or remaining in locker rooms.

Tags Donald Trump National anthem NBA NFL Roger Goodell

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