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Aaron Rodgers wants Packers fans to join team in linking arms during national anthem

Green Bay hosts Chicago on Thursday night.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants fans in the stands at Lambeau Field to join players and coaches in linking arms during the national anthem before the team’s game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday, reports ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

"This is about equality," Rodgers said Tuesday. "This is about unity and love and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people.

“But we've got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we're going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we're going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together."

The Packers also released a statement, inviting fans to link arms in “unity.”

NFL players have been protesting during the national anthem in various ways this week. On Sunday, all but three Packers players linked arms together during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, and Kevin King sat on the bench.

Kendricks told ESPN that the idea to link arms came from Bennett, who has been outspoken in the past on various issues. “It sounds as if all the players — even the ones who sat during the anthem on Sunday — will participate after they held a meeting to discuss it,” Demovsky writes.

The protests, which involved every team during Week 3, initially were started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year to bring attention to racial injustice and police brutality. Last week, President Donald Trump told NFL owners to fire any players who kneeled in protest during the national anthem, which led to the outpouring of activism that will continue in Green Bay.

The Packers play Thursday against the Chicago Bears.

NFL's message of ‘unity’ has diluted Colin Kaepernick's reasons for protest