Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry isn't mincing words following Sunday's visual statement at the Jaguars/Ravens London game and other games around the NFL, in which some players kneeled in a show of solidarity against remarks made by President Donald Trump.
"I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem. I think it's stupid to do otherwise," the mayor said in a statement emailed to WJCT News on Monday morning, adding the "U.S. Constitution protects the right for a lot of people to do a lot of stupid things. I am a Constitutional Conservative, so I respect the wisdom of our Founders."
About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, which the Jaguars won 44-7.
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, according to the Associated Press.
The Jaguars also posted a tweet with owner Shad Khan standing, locked arm-in-arm, during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Save The Queen," which is the national anthem of Britain.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 24, 2017
Khan issued the following statement to WJCT News in an email on Sunday:
“It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem. Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms – race, faith, our views and our goals.
We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder. That’s why it was important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation.”
President Trump took notice with the following tweet:
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017