The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers locked arms during the National Anthem on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
The Packers, play the 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.
"I think there's been a great sense of unity and love and support in this locker room," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "Outside the building, I think the message has been diluted a little bit, and it's been kind of taken away from what we were trying to do: show a united front, guys linking up together."
The Packers also issued a statement as a team prior to Thursday's game, calling the gesture a symbol of unity.
“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. “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."
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.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:25 p.m. between the long-time rivals, with the game airing on NFL Network.