Rodgers encourages Packers fans to stand, lock arms for national anthem

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Aaron Rodgers is urging fans to stand up and lock arms during the national anthem before the Green Bay Packers face rivals the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Thursday.

United States president Donald Trump created quite a stir in the NFL by calling any player who kneels during the national anthem a "son of a b****" and calling for owners to "fire" those players.

NFL teams responded with a massive display of solidarity Sunday and Monday as players, coaches and owners stood together with arms linked during the anthem. Other players kneeled, some sat, and three teams decided to stay in their locker rooms to relay a message to Trump that they will not be divided.

Green Bay quarterback Rodgers said locking arms would not be a protest, but a sign of unity.

"This is about equality," Rodgers said Tuesday, via ESPN. "This is about unity and love and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people.

"But we've got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we're going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we're going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together."

Rodgers and his team-mates want to present a united front with the fans. The idea to challenge fans came from Packers tight end Martellus Bennett.

"I think it was Marty's idea," Packers tight end Lance Kendricks said. "Aaron spoke first and he kind of laid it out and laid out the fact that he's on our side and he understands the message being conveyed and trying to get across.

"Then Marty wrote a statement and in the statement he said we're going to lock arms and he's going to challenge the fans to lock arms as well, so it kind of puts them in a position where it's like, 'Look you're either going to unite with us or you're not.' I think that's really cool because it puts them in a position where it's like now we're talking to you, so you make a decision, peacefully make a decision."