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NFL players boycott anthem after Trump comments

PROTEST: Washington Redskins players during the the national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday (Photo credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

AMERICAN FOOTBALL players have taken part in mass protests this weekend after Donald Trump urged team bosses to fire players who refused to stand for the national anthem.

At Wembley Stadium in London, which hosted its own NFL game on Sunday (Sep 24), “more than 20 players and staff from Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars knelt or linked arms during the anthem,” the BBC reports.

Dozens of players across the US joined in on the global protest, with players dropping to their knees or linking arms for the anthem at each of the 14 fixtures played on Sunday, in a symbolic gesture to draw attention to racial injustice.

The protest began in August 2016, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat down on the field during the national anthem, saying he felt unable to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour”.

After the first protest, the 29-year-old chose to kneel rather than sit, out of respect to serving military personnel.

Several other players have since adopted the pose in solidarity with Kaepernick - however President Trump used a rally in Alabama on Friday (Sep 22) to launch a tirade against those protesting players, urging team bosses to strike them from their squads.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b***h off the field right now, out, he's fired,” Trump said, adding that such an owner would be “the most popular person in this country”.

He later continued his attack on Twitter, encouraging football fans to boycott teams whose players refused to stand for the anthem.

Since then, celebrities including Diddy, Stevie Wonder, Zendaya, Zoe Kravitz and sports stars including LeBron James and Steph Curry have spoken out against Trump's comments.

See some of them below:

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