CHARLOTTE - No Carolina Panthers on the field knelt during the National Anthem before Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Defensive end Julius Peppers was in the locker room during the anthem.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he spoke with the team about showing unity.

"I gave the players my take on this," Rivera said. "I told the guys what we need to do is if we’re going to be united we need to all stand and look at the flag, be at attention, feet attended to. Left hand down at our side, right hand on our heart and we need to look at the flag and we need to listen to the National Anthem."

"We need to think and envision an America that we believe in, that’s free from injustice, that’s free from bigotry, free from prejudice," Rivera added.

On the other sidelines, a large contingent of Saints, including star running back Adrian Peterson, sat on the bench.

President Donald Trump's comments on Friday have set off a firestorm in the NFL and sports world.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners," Trump said, "when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired."

Peppers said after the game that it was his own decision to remain in the locker room during the National Anthem.

"This wasn't about disrespecting military, first responders," Peppers said. "This was about me standing up. I feel like my brothers were attacked."

On Sunday morning in London, several Baltimore Ravens knelt for the anthem, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood on the sidelines, arms interlocking with two of his players.

The Pittsburgh Steelers opted out of participating in the National Anthem with the exception of left tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva.

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About half of the NFL's owners have come out strongly against Trump's comments, but Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has declined comment.