On Saturday evening, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s comments from Friday night regarding demonstrations by NFL players during the national anthem prior to games.
It's unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely."
Support for players who do not stand for the anthem appears to be shared through different levels of the Packers’ organization. In August, general manager Ted Thompson was asked about the anthem demonstrations during a press conference in training camp, and responded with the following (per Packersnews.com):
“I view this as something that you’re asking me from a personal standpoint, not what I would do but what I would feel about a particular player if he made such and such action or if he failed to make such and such action. This is a free country, in my opinion, and free people can do what they like.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy did not specifically weigh in on the demonstrations himself, but mentioned in August (per Madison.com) that he gives a presentation to the Packers’ players regarding the anthem.
“Our approach has always been to give the history and the understanding of what the national anthem means, and why it’s played before any National Football League game, particularly how it started after World War II. I go through the whole history and the importance of what it means to you personally.”
Finally, quarterback Aaron Rodgers weighed in on the demonstrations in an interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes. When Mina asked him about his opinion on them, he responded with support for any teammates who choose not to stand:
“I'm gonna stand because that's the way I feel about the flag -- but I'm also 100 percent supportive of my teammates or any fellow players who are choosing not to. They have a battle for racial equality. That's what they're trying to get a conversation started around."
The Packers play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at 3:25 PM Central at Lambeau Field.