Earlier this week, Aaron Rodgers let it be known that he wanted fans to make a statement Thursday when the Packers played the Bears at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers and his teammates called on the 80,000-plus fans inside Lambeau to join them in linking arms during the national anthem in a show of unity.
When the moment came prior to Thursday’s game, fans chanted, “U.S.A.” before the song was played and pockets of them around the stadium linked arms during the performance by country music star Tyler Farr.
Watch videos and see photos of the fans and players linking arms during the national anthem below:
On Tuesday, the Packers players released a statement asking fans to join them as a sign of “freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly.”
President Donald Trump ignited the war of words with the NFL on Friday, calling players who don’t stand for the national anthem a “son of a b-tch.” On Sunday, Trump again called for NFL owners to fire or suspend players who don’t stand for the Anthem. However, multiple owners have since defended their players’ right to protest, and the hashtag #takeaknee trended on Twitter.
When the Packers played Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, most Packers players linked arms on the sideline during the singing of the national anthem. But three players — Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks and Kevin King — sat on the bench instead of stand.
On Saturday, Packers President Mark Murphy sharply criticized Trump, calling it “unfortunate” that Trump waged war with the players.
“It’s unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL,” Murphy’s statement read. “We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”
Teams around the league had their own show of unity Sunday, some electing to take knees while others — the Pittsburgh Steelers — stayed back in the locker room during the anthem.