Some New England Patriots players were booed by their own fans before a Sept. 24 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, for kneeling during the national anthem.
At least 15 Patriots players took a knee during the national anthem and were met with boos and calls to "stand up," according to the Boston Herald.
The players' protest came after President Donald Trump called for NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem and for fans to boycott the league.
Some players had begun kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against racism and police brutality after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend in 2016.
The president's comments at a rally and on Twitter sparked a day of protest around the NFL, causing many players to kneel during the national anthem. Many who did not kneel stood and locked arms with coaches and owners. Some teams remained in the locker room during the national anthem.
Patriots defensive captain Devin McCourty told the Boston Herald players met before the game to discuss their response.
"We were all obviously conflicted," McCourty said. "We knew our message would be perceived by a lot of people in a way that wasn't what we were trying to put out."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did not kneel, but stood with his hand over his chest and his arms locked with other players, according to the New York Post. Brady has described himself as a friend of Trump's but skipped the Super Bowl champions' 2017 visit to the White House because of "family matters," according to CNN.
On Sept. 25, Brady addressed the president's comments, saying they were "just divisive," according to ESPN.
"I just want to support my teammates," Brady said during a radio interview with WEEI. "I'm never one that says, 'Oh, that's wrong or that's right.' But I do believe in what I believe in, and I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust."
Brady went on to say he wasn't disappointed by the boos his teammates received before the game.
"No, I think everyone has a right to do whatever they want to do," Brady said. "If you don't agree with it, that's fine, you can voice your disagreement; I think that's great. It's part of our democracy, as long as it's done in a peaceful, respectful way. That's what this country has been all about."