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Redskins players, owner link arms during anthem following Trump’s criticism

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder links arms with cornerbacks Josh Norman, left, and Bashaud Breeland during the national anthem Sunday night. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Following pregame ceremonies for the Washington Redskins-Oakland Raiders game at FedEx Field on Sunday night, the Redskins released a two-paragraph statement, presumably in response to President Trump’s criticism of players who choose to kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest. The statement made no reference to Trump or the presidency and was not signed by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder but attributed simply to the Redskins.

The Redskins were among the last NFL teams to offer a statement, following President Trump’s weekend-long criticism that followed his speech in Alabama on Friday night, in which he called on NFL owners to “fire the sons of bitches” who protested in that manner.

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While most Raiders players remained seated for the playing of the anthem Sunday night, a majority of the Redskins stood, linking arms, with Snyder joining them, flanked by cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman. At least seven Redskins chose to take a knee: wide receivers Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Brian Quick; tight ends Jordan Reed and Niles Paul; and linebackers Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter.

Several fans at FedEx Field booed the sight of players on both teams kneeling.

Redskins officials deliberated much of Sunday afternoon about the statement, according to people close to the process. Released seconds before kickoff, it reads as follows:

“Football has always served as the great unifier, bringing people together to celebrate the values of courage, commitment and achievement. We are proud of the players, coaches and fans of the Washington Redskins for all that they have done to improve the lives of others in neighborhoods all across our region.

“We are also grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed forces that have provided us the freedom to play football. In that great tradition, the Washington Redskins will work to address divisions and bring unity, civility and respect to our greater community.”

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