LANDOVER, Md. -- Most of the Oakland Raiders players remained seated during the national anthem Sunday night prior to their game against the Washington Redskins after President Donald Trump criticized professional athletes Friday for not standing during the anthem as a form of protest.
Boos were heard from the FedExField crowd as the Raiders sat with their arms linked. Across the field, the majority of the Redskins, joined by owner Daniel Snyder, stood with their arms linked. About a half-dozen, including tight end Jordan Reed, kneeled.
NBC reported that the Raiders wanted to stay in the locker room during the anthem, but because the timing is different in prime-time games -- the anthem came after the coin toss -- they would have forfeited being available for the toss and potentially incurred a 15-yard penalty.
Following the anthem, the Washington Redskins issued the following statement:
"Football has always served as the great unifier, bringing people together to celebrate the values of courage, commitment and achievement. We are proud of the players, coaches and fans of the Washington Redskins for all that they have done to improve the lives of others in neighborhoods all across our region.
"We are also grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed forces that have provided us the freedom to play football. In that great tradition, the Washington Redskins will work to address divisions and bring unity, civility and respect to our greater community."
Trump criticized players who kneel during the anthem during a Friday rally in Alabama.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He's out! He's fired. He's fired!' Trump said.
Sunday morning, Trump tweeted on the issue, repeating his call for players to be fired.
"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!" Trump tweeted hours before the start of Sunday's NFL games.
Raiders owner Mark Davis said the following to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez on Sunday:
"About a year ago, before our Tennessee game, I met with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to ask their permission to have Tommie Smith light the torch for my father before the game in Mexico City. I explained to them that I was asking their permission because I had previously told them that I would prefer that they not protest while in the Raiders uniform. And should they have something to say, once their uniform was off, I might go up there with them.
"Over the last year, though, the streets have gotten hot and there has been a lot of static in the air and recently, fuel has been added to the fire. I can no longer ask our team to not say something while they are in a Raider uniform. The only thing I can ask them to do is do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That's the challenge in front of us as Americans and human beings."
According to the Washington Post, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder donated $1 million to President Trump's inaugural festivities, per a Federal Election Commission filing.