At Lincoln Financial Field, players, jonied by owner Jeffrey Lurie, linked arms in a show of solidarity.
Eagles link arms during national anthem
After President Donald Trump said he'd like NFL owners to fire players for "disrespecting" the American Flag, Philadelphia Eagles players responded by linking arms during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It was understood we were going to be united," said Torrey Smith, Eagles wide receiver. "And our owner was down there as well, so I think that says a lot about him-- the man he is and the change he's trying to create in this city."
Smith stood just behind Lurie with safety Malcolm Jenkins, with their fists raised. Defensive end Chris Long, who grew up in Charlottsville, Virginia, was at their side.
"As a teammate, you got to listen and you have to support them. You might not agree 100 percent," said Long." I tend to agree with a lot of what's being protested, but I think it was a good day to show solidarity."
The controversy boiled over on Friday after President Trump said this about players who take a knee to protest racial and social injustice:
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. He's fired. He's fired."
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said it was no different than a troll on social media that he has been dealing with for a whole year.
"That same rhetoric is what I hear on a daily basis," he said.
In stadiums elsewhere, teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem. One exception - Steelers Left Tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger and Philadelphia Eagle, stood outside the tunnel at Soldier Field with his hand over his heart.
Sunday evening, the president was asked if he was inflaming racial tensions.
"I've never said anything about race," said President Trump. "This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag."
Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps