WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Several NFL players kneeled during the national anthem on Sunday despite President Donald Trump calling for the protests to stop.
President Trump tweeted that it is important for players to stand and respect the flag and the country.
This all came more than a week after the president urged the NFL to fire or punish players who took a knee in protest during the national anthem.
Some DC-area leaders are kneeling in solidarity and fighting for players’ rights.
“Right now, this guy in the White House is wrong,” one speaker shouted to the crowd.
Organizers did not call it a protest but rather a show of support.
“I think this is an opportunity to take a knee in solidarity with so many people who are experiencing injustices,” DC Councilmember Trayon White said.
PHOTOS: NFL players take a knee
A small group of city, community, and faith leaders gathered and kneeled outside of D.C. Superior Court on NFL game day Sunday.
“We need to defend and protect the first amendment because it is the most precious right that we have,” Johnny Barnes, a retired attorney, and organizer, said.
The group spoke out against President Trump’s criticism of players kneeling during the national anthem.
Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
“We should never lose sight of why Colin Kaepernick kneeled in the first place,” Barnes said.
The protest was first started to bring awareness to racism and police violence against black people.
However, the president and many of his supporters called the protest disrespectful to the country, military, and the American flag.
“Their allegiance is not to the flag,” Glenda Richmond said. “The allegiance is not to the national anthem, but to the constitution. They’re exercising their constitutional rights.”
“Whoever says that players can’t say what they want to say and think what they want to think – we’re going to make sure that they can,” Barnes concluded.
The group plans on taking a knee every Sunday until they say President Trump “backs off.”
Only a handful of players kneeled during the games on Sunday.
Some took a knee before the anthem and then stood once the song started.
© 2017 WUSA-TV