Ravens and Jaguars players kneel, lock arms together for anthem at London game

The Jaguars and Ravens knelt and locked arms during the US national anthem to set the stage for protests over President Donald Trump's comments about NFL players.

Baltimore Ravens players, including former player Ray Lewis, second from right, kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday.   -  AP

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens took part in the first national anthem protests of an NFL Sunday that is expected to be dominated by them in the wake of controversial comments by United States president Donald Trump.

On Friday Trump told a crowd at a rally that NFL owners should fire players if they refuse to stand during the national anthem.

READ: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers post messages of 'unity' as unprecedented NFL Sunday dawns

His remarks, which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell labelled as "divisive" have drawn widespread criticism, with a number of NFL teams releasing statements speaking out against the president and in support of their players.

And, prior to kick-off between the Jaguars and Ravens at Wembley, scores of players from both teams knelt for the anthem, while those who did not displayed solidarity for team-mates by standing together with arms locked.

READ: Rex Ryan on President Donald Trump's comments: 'I'm pissed off'

Jaguars owner Shad Khan — who donated $1 million to President Donald Trump's inauguration fund — was among those to lock arms on the sideline.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti released a statement shortly after kickoff that read: "We recognise our players' influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 per cent. All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

 

The players who knelt for the national anthem stood afterward for the playing of "God Save the Queen".