Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings players kneel, lock arms during national anthem

By Brian Hall, The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 24, 2017 at 2:16 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson kneeled with hands on their heart for the National Anthem on Sunday in Minnesota, a few steps behind their teammates who locked arms in unity.

The Minnesota Vikings stood on their sideline with their arms locked together. The demonstration, which is occurring league-wide, was quiet and understated from the two teams meeting in Minnesota.

The league has responded to comments made by President Donald Trump, who said players who don't respect the flag should be fired. Trump added emotion and anger to a demonstration that had been seen in NFL stadiums since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem last season.

Teams league-wide have come out in support of their players exercising their right to free speech and demonstration during the anthem. Several Minnesota players ran to the end zone and kneeled for a few minutes after being introduced and before joining teammates on the sideline for the anthem.

Shortly before the game, Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf released their own statement from the team.

"Professional sports offer a platform unlike any other, a platform that can bring people from a variety of backgrounds together to impact positive change in our society," the statement read. "As owners, it is our job to foster an environment that recognizes and appreciates diversity of thought and encourages using this platform in a constructive manner. Rather than make divisive statements, we believe in promoting thoughtful, inspiring conversation that unifies our communities. We are proud of our players, coaches and staff for the important role they play in our community, and we fully support their constitutional right to respectfully and peacefully express their beliefs."

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