Lions, Falcons players take a knee during anthem

Sep 24, 2017 - 5:41 PM DETROIT -- Several Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday at Ford Field.

The eight kneeling Lions players included defensive linemen Cornelius Washington, A'Shawn Robinson, Akeem Spence; offensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter, linebackers Tahir Whitehead, Steve Longa and Jalen Reeves-Maybin; and running back Ameer Abdullah.

Many other Lions players interlocked arms in protest of President Donald Trump's comments that NFL players should be fired by their owners if they don't stand up for the anthem.

A pair of Falcons defensive linemen, Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe, also knelt during the anthem while many of their other players stood with the arms locked together in unity.

Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford, who took the unusual step of standing at midfield for the anthem, issued a statement on Sunday morning denouncing Trump's statements.

"Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions," the statement read in part.

Team president Ron Wood said to the media prior to the game it was important to show support for the team's players.

"It's unfortunate that we're talking about that and not football today," Wood said. "We put a statement out. I know our players, they're great guys, great members of the community and have a great work ethic every day. Just wanted to get something out to support them."

Falcons owner Arthur Blank criticized Trump's comments in a statement Saturday.

"Creating division or demonizing viewpoints that are different than our own accomplishes nothing positive and undermines our collective ability to achieve the ideals of our democracy," it read in part.

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