Many Chiefs, Chargers kneel in protest of Trump comments

Sep 25, 2017 - 3:26 AM CARSON, Calif. -- The NFL is new to the StubHub Center but it looked like any other venue featuring the professionals on Sunday. Players on both the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers knelt in protest during the national anthem.

The protests were in response to President Donald Trump painting the league and its players in a negative light with his comments on Saturday.

"People are complaining about kneeling, people are complaining about standing, but I feel like it's pointless," Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston said after Kansas City beat the Chargers 24-10. "They're not changing anything. I feel like prayer changes everything, so I was praying before the game, cause I pray that we come together as one."

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said he was taken aback by Trump criticizing players for expressing their thoughts about America with their silent protests.

"I don't always feel comfortable talking about this stuff," Smith said. "We are athletes playing football. But the comments upset me. I've been in this league a long time and I am proud of my teammates, trainers, coaches, owners. There are so many great things that go in this league. It struck a chord a little bit to see a guy get attacked for a peaceful protest.

"Targeting the NFL, targeting the quality of the character of the guys in this league, for their protest I find very alarming. It's the same guy who couldn't condemn violent neo-Nazis and he is condemning guys taking a knee during the anthem. I think they're bigger issues he should be concerned about."

Chiefs coach Andy Reid backed his players.

"I'm sure for an individual it is different things," he said. "When you get deep down in knowing the guys, and I don't want to speak for them, it is just to make America a better place. That's the primary thing -- I see the work they do behind the scenes with the kids. They want to make sure those kids grow up in a great place and make it even better than what we have and that is the beautiful part of.

"I understand there are two sides to everything. I'm a coach. I deal with a lot of two sides."

Chargers linebacker Chris McCain took a knee along with numerous teammates. Team owner Dean Spanos locked arms with his player during the anthem.

"I didn't take that knee to disrespect the flag," McCain said. "I have family in the military. I understand everything about the flag.

"Those guys fought for our rights. It's my right to take a knee if I want to. I'm not sticking my middle finger at the flag."

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