Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gave tickets to Thursday’s game against the rival Chicago Bears to Green Bay-area police, he announced on Twitter prior to his team’s 35-14 win at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers had been playing a game with fans in which he’d hide tickets in and around Green Bay. Only this week, amidst the growing controversy over NFL players protesting during the national anthem, Rodgers tweeted: ‘To those waiting on the #rodgerstickethunt, I gave my tickets this week to police officers from the Green Bay Area. Enjoy the game!’
It is not yet clear which police officers received those tickets.
Prior to the game, Rodgers and the Packers invited their fans to stand with their arms interlocked during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ as a show of unity. However, as has been the case throughout much of the NFL, the reaction was mixed.
Rodgers (No. 12) and the Packers invited fans to stand and link arms prior to Thursday’s game as a display of ‘unity.’ According to Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), few fans accepted the offer
Instead of giving his tickets to fans, Rodgers rewarded local police officers on Thursday night
Some fans could be heard chanting ‘USA’ during the anthem and many could be seen with their hands over their hearts rather than locking arms with those seated nearby.
On Friday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) told Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co. that he is ‘so upset’ with the Packers and did not watch Thursday’s game.
‘If you recall, the Packers asked for the fans in the stands to link arms like they would on the field,’ Duffy said. ‘[The fans] didn’t. There was a picture of like four guys [in the stands] linking arms, and everyone else, hand over their chest. Veterans were saluting.
‘I’m proud of our state and all those in Lambeau [Field] who said “no, no, I’m an American first…” Here they stood up and they wanted to make a show of force that we support our national anthem and the flag and the NFL should as well. I think they’ve heard the message.
Green Bay-area police officers received Aaron Rodgers’ tickets to Sunday’s Packers game against the visiting Chicago Bears, Rodgers wrote on Twitter
‘They will get us to stand outside in 10 degree weather,’ Duffy concluded, ‘but they won’t get us to disrespect our flag.’
The demonstrations began in 2016 when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee for the duration of the anthem before a preseason game to protest police brutality and racism against minorities. The protests gained steam throughout last season and several players continued demonstrating by sitting, kneeling, or raise a fist during the anthem in 2017.
But after Week 2 of this season, when only a handful of players participated, President Donald Trump took aim at the protesters, calling them ‘sons of b******’ during a speech in Alabama on September 22.
Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy told Fox Business News: ‘[The Packers] will get us to stand outside in 10 degree weather, but they won’t get us to disrespect our flag’
According to Duffy, few fans accepted the Packers’ invitation to lock arms during the anthem on Thursday. Instead, he claimed, most put their hands over their heart
Other Packers fans brought signs to Thursday’s game as a display of patriotism
Trump followed with an onslaught of critical tweets throughout the weekend. But if his intention was to dissuade the players from protesting, Trump missed the mark. Over 200 players demonstrated in one way or another in Week 3.
Most NFL sidelines on Sunday featured players standing for the anthem or kneeling in protest, but several teams decided to demonstrate as a team.
For instance, the Dallas Cowboys coaches, players, and even owner Jerry Jones knelt while locking arms before their Monday Night Football game in Arizona on Monday.
Fans booed in response, leading Trump to tweet on Tuesday that the boos were the ‘loudest’ he had ever heard.
Trump claimed the boos directed at the Dallas Cowboys were the ‘loudest I have ever heard.’ ESPN earned a 9.3 overnight rating, which is a 63 percent jump from Week 3 last year
The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones took a knee while locking arms on Monday night
Rodgers (left) and Jordny Nelson (right) celebrate a touchdown during the second half of Thursday’s win over the Bears
The Packers locked arms while standing during the anthem ahead of Sunday’s win against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals before inviting their fans to do the same before Thursday’s win.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Packers the act of standing with their arms interlocked represents ‘freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against, or otherwise treated unfairly.’
Trump has repeatedly called on NFL owners to ‘fire’ or suspend protesting players, which is why Packers fans are in such an interesting position.
Unlike the privately owned 31 other NFL teams, the Packers franchise is a public company that is divvied up among over 360,000 fans who own over 5 million shares of the franchise.
‘I am so ashamed of and appalled by the ignorance of any NFL player who would dare disgrace our Stars and Stripes or the memory of hundreds of thousands of fallen U.S. heroes who paid with their lives so that we may live free,’ Packers shareholder and 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran Steven Tiefenthaler told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Shareholder Justin Sipla told CNN that he chooses to stand for the anthem, but does not take offense at any player who chooses to protest, ‘especially if the causes they say they’re doing it for are for reasons of social injustice.’
‘It was absolutely ridiculous for him to insult the owners without considering the fact there are shareholders that are also fans,’ the 34-year old told CNN. ‘We don’t have the power to be able to fire those players but even if we could, there is no way that we would listen to that.’