Culture

Packers Players Ask Fans Attending Thursday’s Game to Lock Arms During National Anthem

Green Bay Packers players lock arms during the national anthem's playing before their game on September 24, 2017. / Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers released a statement Tuesday asking fans attending their upcoming home game against the Chicago Bears to lock arms during the national anthem as a sign of unity.

"This Thursday during the national anthem at Lambeau Field, Packers players, coaches and staff will join together with arms intertwined—connected like the threads on your favorite jersey," the statement said. "When we take this action, what you will see will be so much more than just a bunch of football players locking arms.

"The image you will see on September 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."

The statement went on to say, "Let’s work together to build a society that is more fair and just."

"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," it said.

The request comes on the heels of an extraordinary weekend of on-field gestures in response to President Donald Trump's condemnation of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who kneel during its playing in protest of racial injustices and other issues.

Players, coaches and executives across the league knelt, locked arms or even remained in the locker room during the playing of the anthem.

Trump set off a firestorm when he called for the "son of a bitch" players who don't stand for the anthem to be fired from their teams last week and tweeted repeatedly about the issue over the weekend. On Tuesday, he continued his fiery remarks against the protests, saying they made him feel "ashamed."

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters Tuesday the team would make the request after it held a meeting.

"It’s never been about the military or our men and women in uniform. Like I said after the game, we love and support them," Rodgers said. "We love them, and we’re thankful for the opportunity they give us."

The Packers (2-1) and Bears (1-2) are longtime NFC North rivals and are both coming off dramatic, overtime victories in week 3 of the NFL season.

Full statement:

The NFL family is one of the most diverse communities in the world. Just look around! The eclectic group of players that you root for, the coaches you admire, the people you sit next to in the stands, those high-fiving on military bases, fans at the sports bar or during tailgate parties—we all come from different walks of life and have unique backgrounds and stories.

The game of football brings people together. As NFL players, we are a living testimony that individuals from different backgrounds and with different life experiences can work together toward a common goal.

This Thursday during the national anthem at Lambeau Field, Packers players, coaches and staff will join together with arms intertwined—connected like the threads on your favorite jersey. When we take this action, what you will see will be so much more than just a bunch of football players locking arms. The image you will see on September 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. You will see the sons of police officers, kids who grew up in military families, people who have themselves experienced injustice and discrimination firsthand, and an array of others all linking together in a display of unity.

Those of us joining arms on Thursday will be different in so many ways, but one thing that binds us together is that we are all individuals who want to help make our society, our country and our world a better place. We believe that in diversity there can be UNI-versity. Intertwined, we represent the many people who helped build this country, and we are joining together to show that we are ready to continue to build.

Let’s work together to build a society that is more fair and just.

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.