OAKLAND, Calif. – Former “American Idol” singer Jessica Sanchez from Chula Vista took a knee after singing the national anthem during the Chargers-Raiders game Sunday.
As the “Idol” runner-up from season 11 ended “home of the brave,” Sanchez knelt in the center of the NFL field. The 22-year-old’s Facebook page posted live video when she was announced on the field, but it didn’t show the controversial moment. She later deleted the video.
Raiders Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem, while Chargers Russell Okung raised his fist.
Sanchez told the Associated Press that Lynch said to her, “You did your thing girl.”
The protests started in 2016 with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but they made headlines again in September when Trump targeted the league in a fiery stump speech in Alabama. The controversy is also coming at a time when the NFL is suffering from down ratings. Through week five, the league’s viewership is down roughly 6% compared to the same time last year. Thursday night’s game was up 7% in overnight ratings compared to last year. NFL games still amass the biggest ratings on TV.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to team executives this week saying that the dispute “is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game.”
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” Goodell wrote. “We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
President Trump praised the Goodell for taking a stance on the national anthem, but the league quickly corrected him without saying his name.
The game took place in Oakland, Calif.