These Celebs Standing Up For NFL Players Who #TookAKnee Will Make You Even More Emotional

by Mary Kate McGrath
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

On Sunday, NFL Players from numerous teams locked arms or kneeled during the National Anthem in an act of solidarity and a response to Donald Trump's call for the organization to suspend or fire players who don't stand during the anthem. In response, many celebrities are supporting NFL Players in their protest. From Zendaya to Ellen DeGeneres, stars praised the players, coaches, and team owners who condemned the president's statements and chose to protest before their respective games on Sunday. A few stars even staged protests of their own, and musicians like Stevie Wonder and Pharrell Williams, who took a knee during their performances over the weekend.

Last year, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem as a way to protest racial and social injustice. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he told reporters in 2016. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

The action and those who have followed Kaepernick in protest since infuriated the president, whose comments in a speech on Friday and on Twitter this weekend were largely condemned and inspired further demonstrations. Trump said during a rally in Alabama, "Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!'"

In response, celebrities spoke out against Trump's comments, and embraced the hashtag #TakeAKnee to demonstrate unity.

Pharrel Williams


Pharrell Williams performed at the Dave Matthew's Concert For Charlottesville: An Evening Of Music & Unity charity event on Sunday, which was held in response to the white supremacist rally that took place in the city last month that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. The singer took a moment at the end of his set to kneel and show his support of the NFL players' protests. "If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that's what this flag is for," he told the crowd, according to Billboard.

Ellen DeGeneres

DeGeneres also showed her support for the NFL, noting that the right to protest is American.

Stevie Wonder

At the Global Citizen Festival in New York City on Saturday night, Stevie Wonder also took a knee onstage. “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” Wonder told the crowd at the beginning of his show. “Not just one knee, but I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, leaders of our world and our globe. Amen."


Zendaya posted photos of athletes kneeling during the anthem, including Kaepernick. She captioned the pictures #TakeTheKnee, and also tweeted "Solidarity".

Ava DuVernay

Among many other tweets about the topic, Ava DuVernay wrote a message about Trump's comments being bigger than the NFL.

Uzo Aduba

Uzo Aduba showed solidarity by posting a photo of herself taking a knee to Twitter. She captioned it: "It's that easy."

Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams posted about the hypocrisy in the face of these protests. The star also appeared on MSNBC, where he further pointed out these hypocrisies and the lack of room people of color are given to protest in this country.

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman showed support for Williams' comments and those taking a knee during the anthem. "These Trump supporters are being hustled," Williams told MSNBC anchors. "They're being told that people of color are the problem when it's really rich, old oligarchs."

Matt McGorry

Actor Matt McGorry tweeted a relevant quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that reads, "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." He also urged white football fans not to be complacent, and to publicly support #TakeAKnee.

John Legend

The singer wrote a powerful piece about why the protests are patriotic, and how little they have to do with the flag.

Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson also stressed that the freedom to protest is an essential American value.

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union responded to a tweet from the New York ACLU that read "If peaceful protests did nothing the powerful wouldn't try so hard to silence them." Union wrote "Exactly".

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde also praised the NFL players who protested, and thanked them for their courage.


Diddy posted a message for the NFL players to Instagram. The caption read: "A Very IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL THE PLAYERS IN THE NFL!!!!!!! Said with LOVE RESPECT AND HOPE! Repost pls!"

In the video, the rapper urged the teams to protest. "Y'all got a chance to do something really, really, really great tomorrow," he said. "If y'all do whatever you do in unity, you can't be stopped." The star also posted several more posts in support of the demonstrations.

In light of Trump's comments, it was important for the NFL players, coaches, and team owners to act in solidarity and speak out, and it's clear that celebrities are doing their part to further the conversation.