London (Reuters) - Three Miami Dolphins players knelt for the American national anthem before their NFL game in London on Sunday, after U.S. President Donald Trump had said the previous day that it was “very important” that players stood.
Julius Thomas, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills all knelt during the anthem before kickoff at Wembley Stadium in the game between the New Orleans Saints and Miami . They then stood for the playing of the British national anthem .
All Saints players stood locking arms, having knelt as a team shortly before the anthem in a pre-planned moment.
After the game, in which Saints shut out the Dolphins 20-0, New Orleans coach Sean Payton praised his team for their show of solidarity.
“It’s a credit to our leadership on the team, and we just felt like they were going to meet and spend some time on it and come up with a plan and we were going to be really unified and I thought it went really well. I was proud of the leadership on the team,” he said.
In a gesture initiated last season by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, several NFL players have routinely knelt on one knee during the playing of the American anthem .
It is intended to call attention to what the protesting players see as a pattern of racism in the treatment of African-Americans by U.S. police.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross supported his players who chose to kneel last year and said this week he will continue to do so this season.