As Jordin Sparks’ rendition of the national anthem swelled to a conclusion Monday evening, fans inside University of Phoenix Stadium added a secondary soundtrack with cheers and applause.

It was a normal scene, typical of every other Cardinals home game in recent memory.

Except it wasn’t.

Cardinals players linked arms across the south end zone. Their stance was a  a show of unity during the national anthem with team president Michael Bidwill, who was flanked by receiver Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Patrick Peterson. Coach Bruce Arians was on the other side of Fitzgerald, while General Manager Steve Keim was also on the field along with Bidwill’s siblings, Nicole and Tim.

Kitty-corner from the Cardinals were the Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones. They also stood with linked arms on their sideline while a massive American flag anchored the field.

But before the anthem began, the Cowboys – including Jones – kneeled, a subtle protest that didn’t go unnoticed in the seats as boos erupted until the Cowboys got to their feet.

Sparks also had a reference to a bible verse written on her hand: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute,” Proverbs 31: 8-9 reads. 

The player protests Monday night contrasted those that proliferated around the NFL on Sunday, which many saw as a response to remarks President Donald Trump made late last week. 

Trump was speaking at a rally Friday night in Alabama when he made the following comments:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—h off the field right now,” Trump said. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a Trump supporter, also released a statement Sunday morning saying he was “deeply disappointed” by the tone of Trump’s comments. And Jaguars owner Shad Khan locked arms with his players when the national anthem was played prior to an NFL game in London. 

Former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner also drew a large response- from critics and supporters- after he told an NFL Network audience on Sunday morning that he found Trump’s comments ‘disappointing,’ and contradictory to what the flag represents. 

RELATED: Suns’ Tyson Chandler: Trump’s remarks were a ‘shot at humanity’

RELATED: Kurt Warner: Trump’s comments contradict what flag represents

RELATED: Greg Moore: It’s American to stand – or not stand


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