Instead of kneeling, teams link arms during Thursday Night Football
National anthem protests have become a big part of NFL games.
Thursday night the protests continued — but this time with no kneeling.
The game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field was a scene of unity with players linking arms. Fans were encouraged to "link arms in unity" as well, and many did.
President Donald Trump ranted against athletes with his strong "son of a bitch" language for kneeling during the national anthem last week. Since then, the protest — started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality against African-Americans — has spread throughout the league in many different forms.
The Packers released a statement Tuesday about their plans to "join together with arms intertwined— connected like the threads on your favorite jersey." The players said this would represent "unity."
The players made no mention of kneeling or taking a knee during the anthem.
"It will represent a coming together of players who want the same things that all of us do—freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding, and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly," the team explained in the statement.
The linking arms gesture seems to be a more accepted way to protest. Kneeling triggered sports package cancellations and burned jersey and tickets from people who interpreted the protest as an attack on the American flag. The NFL and its teams are noticing how political and divisive the protest has become.
The Dallas Cowboys chose to kneel together before the anthem at Monday's game. The Denver Broncos released a message Thursday about the team's plans to be "standing together" for their Sunday game.
As the season continues, taking a knee may happen less and less.