Broncos players say they'll stand for national anthem

Broncos players released a statement Thursday that they will stand for the national anthem this Sunday before their game against the Raiders.

"We had a meeting yesterday after practice and we decided to stand as a team," Denver coach Vance Joseph said. "But they wanted a statement just stating what they were doing last Saturday and what we're doing as a team moving forward. I think the statement speaks to their initial intent on what they wanted to get accomplished in the past and on Sunday. So I'm proud of the guys. Moving forward it's about our team playing football, and that's what it's really about."

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said the decision was made by the team's leaders after they held a vote on the matter.

"We just have a leadership council meeting, and not everybody wanted to do it," Harris told reporters. "But, I mean, majority rules and we just came up with it to stand."

"It was a majority. You got to vote and every time you can't always have your way, so everybody, as a team, in that leadership, we all went with it, and everybody stands. The leaders made the choice."

Last Sunday about half the Broncos players kneeled during the anthem. Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas were among them. Tight end Virgil Green had a fist raised. The response followed President Trump's remarks at a political rally in Alabama that team owners should fire players who fail to stand for the national anthem prior to games.

Those comments prompted widespread protests and displays of unity during the anthem across the NFL before games Sunday and Monday.

Broncos president of football ops and general manager John Elway issued the following statement Tuesday:

"I'm one that believes in standing for the national anthem, and I've always believed that. I believe that this is the greatest country in the world. We are very fortunate to live here, but it's obviously not perfect. There are a lot of things that need to be corrected, and we will continue to work on those things. I'm one that really believes in standing for the flag. I understand the players and the way they felt from the comments that were made earlier in the week. They felt that they had to go down and kneel and that's up to them. Hopefully as we go forward we can start concentrating on football a little bit more. Take politics out of football. but I think that last week was a good show of unity by the NFL and hopefully this week we can move forward."

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