Players kneeling in protest or standing for the national anthem once again became a hot button issue over the weekend after President Trump said players should be “fired” for taking a knee and then doubled down in a series of tweets. On Sunday, NFL players from across the league responded during games, the NFL reaired a commercial about unity and the hashtag #TakeAKnee blew up, according to social analytics firm Talkwalker.
The more than 4 million social posts included those related to the NFL and the national anthem as well as those that used the hashtags #TakeAKnee (2.4 million mentions) or #TakeTheKnee (1.2 million). Two other hashtags, #BoycottNFL (101,500 mentions) and #MAGA (90,900) were also trending.
“This is just beginning. This is the tip of the iceberg, and it’s going to continue to trend,” said Talkwalker CEO Todd Grossman. “I haven’t seen a statement yet from the NFL—I’ve been online all day—and once that does come out, there’s going to be more. And we don’t know what President Trump may say when it does come out.”
He continued, “When you see more than 4 million social posts in a matter of 24 to 48 hours—it’s a lot. It’s going to continue. By the end of the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if that doubles.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears were the teams with the most social chatter around #TakeAKnee.
“I think the NFL is in a very tough spot,” Grossman said. “There are two sides. They want to support their fans, and they want to support their employees, including the owners who want to support their team members. Ultimately, what the NFL will try to do is unify things.”
Here are the top tweets according to Talkwalker’s data: