Aaron Rodgers wants fans to link arms during anthem

Print
  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
More Columns >

Aaron Rodgers wants fans to join in on the Packers' spreading of the message of unity.

The Green Bay quarterback said Tuesday he wants fans at Lambeau Field to join the Packers in linking arms during the national anthem before their Thursday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears.

"This is about equality," Rodgers said Tuesday, via ESPN.com. "This is about unity and love and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people. But we've got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we're going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we're going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together."

NFL players, coaches and owners gathered in displays of unity during pregame ceremonies in Week 3. See how teams marked the occasion.

Packers teammates Lance Kendricks, Martellus Bennett and Kevin King sat on the bench during the anthem before their Sunday game against the Cincinnati Bengals as most of the players stood and locked arms. Players across the NFL protested and showed demonstrations of unity during the playing of the national anthem Sunday and Monday following remarks made over the weekend by President Donald Trump that team owners should fire players who fail to stand for the national anthem prior to games.

The Packers, like many other teams, have held many team meetings in recent days to discuss what they would do during the playing of the anthem.

"I think it was Marty's idea," Kendricks said of the idea to lock arms and have fans participate as well. "Aaron spoke first and he kind of laid it out and laid out the fact that he's on our side and he understands the message being conveyed and trying to get across. And then Marty wrote a statement and in the statement he said we're going to lock arms and he's going to challenge the fans to lock arms as well, so it kind of puts them in a position where it's like, 'Look you're either going to unite with us or you're not.' I think that's really cool because it puts them in a position where it's like now we're talking to you, so you make a decision, peacefully make a decision."

The Packers posted this statement online:

"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."

- The Packers Players

Green Bay hosts Chicago at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, aired on CBS, NFL Network and streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

Print