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Seahawks stay in locker room during national anthem before Titans game

TENNESSEE – The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans joined in Sunday’s NFL-wide protests, with both teams staying in their respective locker rooms as the anthem played before their game at Nissan Stadium.

More than 100 players took a knee on the sidelines during the early round of games Sunday, even as President Trump tweeted a new round of critcism for players who do so, calling for owners to fire or suspend them.

The Seahawks released a statement about 20 minutes before kickoff, signed “The Players of the Seattle Seahawks.”

“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem,” the statement reads. “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”

A little more than an hour before the game, the players still hadn’t decided what they wanted to do.

Several NFL owners defended their players, however, including Trump’s close friend, New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who said he was “deeply disappointed” with Trump’s comments.

The Seahawks released a statement of their own Saturday night that was signed by team president Peter McLoughlin and retweeted by owner Paul Allen, saying they “fully support our players use of their freedom of speech.”

Michael Bennett sat on the bench during the national anthem for all of the team’s previous games dating to the start of the preseason, with Justin Britt and Thomas Rawls standing by in support at various times and Cliff Avril twice joining him on the bench as the anthem finished playing.