Sept. 25 (UPI) — The NFL aired a commercial about unity as players, coaches and owners locked arms, knelt or sat out the national anthem on the sidelines of Sunday’s games.
Inside These Lines aired before the 1 p.m. games online and was shown on TV during Sunday Night Football.
The commercial features a man painting the lines on a football field and several displays of players helping each other up before showing players locking arms. It also features Pat Tillman.
The ad wraps up by showing a giant outline of the United States painted on a football field.
The protests were a stand of unity against comments made by President Donald Trump saying that NFL players who refused to stand for the national anthem should be fired or suspended.
Actor Forest Whitaker narrated the commercial.
“Inside these lines, we don’t have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination,” Whitaker says. “Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there’s more that unites us.
“Inside these lines, it’s a game of inches, and there’s no such thing as an easy yard when you’re fighting to move forward.
“Inside these lines, we’re not only defined by our victories, but by the way we handle our defeats.
“Inside these lines, we can bring out the best in each other, and live united — Inside these lines.”
Trump continued to tweet about the protests throughout the day Sunday and Monday morning.
“Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country,” Trump wrote. “NFL should change policy!”
“Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total),” Trump said Monday morning. “These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!”
“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race,” Trump tweeted Monday. “It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the national anthem protests during the 2016 preseason. He sat on the 49ers’ bench on Aug. 26 before a game against the Green Bay Packers.
The quarterback explained that his protests were based on police brutality and racial inequality. He opted out of the final year of his contract with the team this offseason and remains a free agent.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tweeted that the commercial “reflects the unifying force of our great game, our players and clubs.”