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25 Sep 2017

Donald Trump says NFL anthem protests have 'nothing to do with race'

onald Trump insisted on Sunday that a wave of protests held by National Football League players during the US anthem before games had "nothing to do with race".

The president escalated his feud with American football after players staged their biggest anti-racism protest yet at London's Wembley Stadium.
The protest, which was followed by more demonstrations in America, came hours after Mr Trump called for a boycott of the NFL as he vented his fury on Twitter throughout the day.

In a direct challenge to Mr Trump, two dozen players from the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars went down on bended knee as the US national anthem was played while others, including the Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who is Muslim, stood and locked arms.

Everyone on both teams stood for God Save the Queen.

It came as other team owners condemned Mr Trump's comments as "contrary to the founding principles of our country".

The backlash also included musician Stevie Wonder kneeling during a concert in New York, saying he was "taking a knee for America".

Players throughout America's most popular sport took a defiant stance following the protest at Wembley, kneeling, linking arms or raising clenched fists during the anthem.

More than 150 players could be seen kneeling or sitting in the 14 games that took place on Sunday, easily the largest such demonstration since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began protesting in 2016.

One of the biggest protests took place in the nation's capital, where almost the entire lineup of the Oakland Raiders team sat on their bench ahead of their game with the Washington Redskins.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans took a different approach later by staying in their locker rooms.

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