Updated: 25/09/17 : 08:28:03
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World :: NFL players defiance after US president urges suspensions

Players in the National Football League (NFL) have knelt and locked arms in a wave of protests at US President Donald Trump's "offensive" and "divisive" comments aimed at their teammates.

In a growing row with the sports world, Mr Trump insisted that players who failed to stand during the national anthem should be fired or suspended.

Sunday's protests are the largest of their kind since they began last year.

Players have been protesting at racial injustice and police violence.

Mr Trump's calls to fire players taking part in such protests were supported by many, but have proved deeply divisive.

To a crowd of cheering supporters on Friday, Mr Trump asked: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now... he is fired'?"

He was referring to a widespread protest movement in the sport started by player Colin Kaepernick, who began sitting or kneeling during the anthem last year in protest against police brutality and the treatment of black Americans.

Sports players responded with widespread protest action during the weekend's sporting action.

On Saturday night, the Oakland Athletics' Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel in protest during the anthem.

During Sunday's NFL games:

    Neither the Seattle Seahawks or the Tennessee Titans turned out for the national anthem before kick-off at their game, hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same in Chicago

    The Chicago Bears stood on the sidelines with their arms locked, as did New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady and teammates at another game. Some Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals players also linked arms

    The anthem singer at the Seahawks-Titans game kneeled at the end of he performance, as did singer at the Lions-Falcons game, who also raised his fist

    Fans booed their own teams at some games as players protested - including at the Titans and Patriots games

    Philadelphia Eagles fans clashed with protesters ahead of a game in their home city against the New York Giants

    Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan - who donated $1m (740,000) to the Trump campaign - locked arms with his players in an unusual scene, as owners rarely join players on the pitch.


The NFL itself has criticised Mr Trump's remarks, with commissioner Roger Goodell saying "divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect".

Eric Winston, president of the NFL Players' Association, said Mr Trump's comments were "a slap in the face to the civil rights heroes of the past and present".