BOSTON (CBS) — Several Patriots players took a knee during the national anthem ahead of Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium.
Roughly 20 players on New England knelt on the sidelines ahead of their game against the Houston Texans. Other Patriots players, including quarterback Tom Brady, stood locked arm-in-arm during the anthem.
Sunday’s national anthem protests come in response to comments made by President Donald Trump over the weekend. At a campaign rally Friday night, Trump told a Huntsville, Alabama crowd owners should fire players who do not stand while the Star Spangled Banner is played.
He followed those comments up with tweets Saturday morning, saying players who don’t respect the flag should “Find something else to do!”
Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement Sunday morning responding to President Donald Trump’s comments, saying he is “deeply disappointed.”
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft wrote. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.”
Before the Patirots’ 2016 season opener in Arizona, safety Devin McCourty and tight end Martellus Bennett raised a fist following the national anthem. That was the only time players on the Patriots had done any kind of protest on the field.
There were several protests around the NFL on Sunday, including the Pittsburgh Steelers remaining in the locker room during the national anthem prior to their game.