Sept. 24 (UPI) — All-Pro quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers spoke out about unity, love and the NFL brotherhood Sunday on Instagram.
Brady was the first to partake in the posting, putting up a photo with New England Patriots teammate James White at around 9 a.m.
“Strength. Passion. Love. Brotherhood. Team. Unity. Commitment. Dedication. Determination. Respect. Loyalty. Work. #nflplayer,” Brady wrote in the caption.
The photos came at around the time the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens were playing in London. Before that game, both teams protested during the national anthem by kneeling or locking arms. Those participating in that pregame sequence included Jaguars owner Shad Kahn, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
Rodgers posted on his Instagram account about an hour after Brady.
“#unity #brotherhood #family #dedication #love,” the Green Bay Packers superstar wrote on the caption. Rodgers’ photo included a kneeling group of himself, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.
Brady’s photo had about 200,000 likes and Rodgers’ had about 60,000 likes as of Sunday afternoon’s 1 p.m. kickoff.
Sunday’s protests stemmed from Colin Kaepernick’s original anthem protests during the 2016 season in opposition to police brutality and racial inequality. More players and owners spoke out Saturday and Sunday after comments from President Donald Trump saying that NFL owners should “fire” players who protest the anthem.
Kaepernick is still a free agent after opting out of his contract this offseason with the San Francisco 49ers. Both Rodgers and Brady have expressed that the quarterback deserves another shot at playing in the NFL.
“I sure hope so,” Brady told CBS This Morning last week when asked if Kaepernick can play in the league again. “I’ve always watched him. The way that he has played. He was a great young quarterback. He came to our stadium and beat us and took his team to the Super Bowl in 2012. He accomplished a lot in the pros as a player and he’s certainly qualified and I hope he gets a shot.”
Rodgers told ESPN that Kaepernick “should be on a roster right now” and that he is “100 percent supportive” of teammates or other players who choose to protest the national anthem.
Packers president Mark Murphy and Patriots owner Robert Kraft have both issued statements in response to President Trump.
“It’s unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL,” Murphy said in the statement. “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.”
Brady’s Patriots kicked off against the Houston Texans at 1 p.m. Sunday in Foxborough. Rodgers’ Packers face the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:25 p.m. Sunday at Lambeau Field.