In the wake of President Trump railing against football players who protest during the national anthem and calling for fans to boycott games, the NFL has resurrected a one-minute ad produced for the Super Bowl earlier this year to promote a message of unity.
The commercial, titled “Inside These Lines,” will air tonight during NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecast. It was also tweeted by the league Sunday morning.
In the commercial, which features game footage and is narrated by Forest Whitaker, he says, “Inside these lines we don’t have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination. Inside these lines we may have our differences, but recognize there’s more that unites us.”
Whitaker continues, “Inside these lines it’s a game of inches, and there’s no such thing as an easy yard when you’re fighting to move forward. Inside these lines we’re not only defined by our victories but the way we handle our defeats. Inside these lines we can bring out the best in each other and live united — inside these lines.”
“We think this is the single best response to demonstrate what we are about,” an NFL spokesman told CNN, which first reported the news. “It stands in stark contrast to some who practice the politics of division.”
The decision to air the ad was finalized Sunday morning, during a weekend in which Trump blasted protesting players and the league itself several times.
During a stump speech in Alabama on Friday, he said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b— off the field right now. Out, you’re fired.’” He followed up with a string of tweets Saturday and Sunday.
Trump’s comments have been widely condemned, including by the NFL Players Association, the NFL itself, team owners, players, fellow athletes, and celebrities.
More than 100 players kneeled or sat during national anthem performances around the league on Sunday in protest of police brutality and injustice.