Detroit artist kneels while singing national anthem at Lions game

By Priya Mann - Reporter
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Detroit Lions players Anthony Bryant, A'Shawn Robinson and Cornelius Washington take a knee during the national anthem before taking on the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 24, 2017. (Duane Burleso/AP)

DETROIT - A Detroit artist who knelt as he sang the national anthem Sunday during the Lions game said it went far beyond the NFL, and when it happened was a spur of the moment decision.

There was both support and criticism online after the game.

Those who watched the live broadcast Sunday would not have seen Lions players taking a knee, but one unexpected moment quickly went national when the 24-year-old artist born in Detroit knelt as he sang the national anthem.

"I respect this beautiful country and people, and this was my support," Rico LaVelle said.

As little boys waving flags on the field looked on, the Detroit artist pumped his fist into the air.

LaVelle said he’d been thinking about taking a stand for a while, but it was one specific comment from President Donald Trump that forced him to act.

"When President Trump called our players SOBs, some of the greatest athletes, it wasn’t it for me," LaVelle said.

When it came to the the controversy nationwide, one Lions fan and military veteran supported the demonstrations.

"I get it, but at the same time, all that’s important is (to) exercise Amendment rights peacefully," the veteran said.

LaVelle said afterward, several Lions players voiced their support.

And for those who criticized him, the singer said he hopes this encourages a dialogue.

"For the people who are angry, I hope they got they got the same time type of anger for injustice," LaVelle said.

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