While four Miami Dolphins players kneeled in protest during the national anthem on Sunday, quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks locked arms in a patriotic "demonstration of unity."
According to Yahoo Sports, on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the athletes stood side-by-side, next to the field draped in a giant American flag, as a message from President Barack Obama played on the big screen. The message was followed by a moment of silence to honor the victims of the terror attacks.
On Twitter, Doug Baldwin explained the team decided to link arms "to honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure the riches of freedom and the security of justice for all people. Progress can and will be made only if we stand together."
Meanwhile, across the field, four Dolphins knelt with their hands over their hearts, refusing to stand during the national anthem. The move was made in support of San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, who announced last month that he plans to sit during every performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" at NFL games to represent "people that are being oppressed".
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."
While Kaepernick's decision has sparked a nationwide debate, the Seahawks players garnered praise across the internet for making a bold statement while also respecting the U.S. flag and the national anthem: "Today I will stand united with the Seahawks to #buildAbridge I challenge you to stand and link arms during the national anthem today," tweeted actor Chris Pratt.
Following the game, Wilson led a post-game prayer with other players, including some of his Dolphins opponents.
As earlier reported, the outspoken Christian athlete told reporters that while he "understands" where Kaepernick is coming from, he will not be following suit.
"I love the flag. I love the national anthem," Wilson said via KCPQ. "I think about my family members who have served ... [That's] why I stand and put my hand on my heart."
Wilson went on to say that there "wasn't a perfect answer" and that he "understands the cause."
"Ultimately it comes down to love, treating everyone equally," he said.