The Green Bay Packers are planning on locking arms during the National Anthem on Thursday night, and they are asking their fans to participate in the statement.
The Packers, who will play the Chicago Bears in a nationally televised game, issued a statement Tuesday alerting fans to their decision, and asking those supporters to join them as a symbol of unification.
“This Thursday during the national anthem at Lambeau Field, Packers players, coaches, and staff will join together with arms intertwined,” Packers players said in a statement.
“The image you will see on Sept. 28th will be one of unity. 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.
“Join us this Thursday by locking arms with whoever you’re with, stranger or loved one, wherever you are – intertwined and included – in this moment of unification,” they added.
The demonstration is part of a nationwide series of actions taken after President Donald Trump criticized players for kneeling during the national anthem. The president, in a speech in Alabama and in a series of follow-up tweets, has said that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired, and NFL players have lashed out at his remarks.
Players from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks stayed in the locker room during the anthem on Sunday, and players from virtually every NFL team participated in a variety of demonstrations against the president’s comments.
The Bears were one of those teams, as players and coaches locked arms on the field during the anthem at Soldier Field prior to Sunday’s game against the Steelers.
The Packers also joined arms prior to their game against Cincinnati, and their head coach is impressed with the team’s continuing stance on the issue.
“I was proud of the players,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “They put a lot of time, energy, and thought into it.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:25 p.m. between the long-time rivals, with the game airing on NFL Network.