- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 4, 2018

President Trump released a pre-Super Bowl message Sunday thanking the Armed Forces “for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem,” and he wasn’t wrong.

Apparently all players on the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles stood for “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl LII, bringing a low-key end to a season marked by a highly charged debate over the take-a-knee protests.

The NBC cameras scanning the sidelines showed no players kneeling or sitting during the anthem, performed by Pink, who was battling the flu. Some New England players could be seen standing with hands on their teammates’ shoulders.

The absence of anthem protesters at the championship game in Minneapolis wasn’t a surprise, given that no players had sat or knelt during the playoffs.

Before kick-off, Mr. Trump sent best wishes to Americans, particularly the “brave men and women of the Armed Forces.”

“Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner,” said Mr. Trump. “We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”

A number of players refused to stand for the national anthem during the 2017 NFL season in what was described as a protest against social injustice after the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

The NFL saw its ratings drop by 9.7 percent from the previous season, a decline that has been credited in part to fan outrage over the protests.


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