NEW YORK (AP) — Sterling K. Brown and Chadwick Boseman have high praise for the pro football players who took a knee in protest of President Donald Trump.
The actors — both starring in the upcoming film "Marshall," about Thurgood Marshall — commended players in the National Football League who sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance during the national anthem on Sunday. The players responded after Trump said anyone who knelt during "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be fired, and used a profane term to describe such a player.
Boseman, who plays Marshall, the first black person to ascend to the U.S. Supreme Court, called the players "patriots."
"America is always being born out of being revolutionary," said Boseman, whose roles have included Jackie Robinson in "42" and the Black Panther in the Marvel movies. "That's what it's born out of. It's not born out of doing what people told you what you're supposed to do."
Brown, who recently won an Emmy Award for best actor in a drama for his role on "This Is Us," said Trump has been divisive.
"I believe that this president has sort of brought a lot of ugliness to the surface ...," said Brown, adding, "We can no longer remain silent."
On Sunday, some players took a knee, while some locked arms while standing to show unity with their teammates.
The issue of players sitting during the anthem in protest first came to a head last year when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel to protest police brutality against blacks and what he called the overall racist treatment of blacks in America. He was released by the 49ers during the offseason and has yet to find an NFL team.
Trump, in comments Friday, said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired!"
Boseman said Kaepernick was only seeking equality.
"Kaepernick was saying was that America should live up to what its creed is. That's it. Until it does that, until black men are not brutalized in the street and treated unfairly, I'm going to acknowledge that it's not doing that," Boseman said. "That is still an acknowledgement of the flag, an acknowledgement of what the United States is. And until people sort of get out of the way and allow that to be expressed, people need to know what patriotism is."
"Marshall" comes out Oct. 13 in the United States.