Trump greeted by protesters during college football's biggest game

By Caitlyn Jones, Web Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 09, 2018

It was college football's biggest game, the College Football Playoff National Championship, but the players did not get all the attention.

  • Protesters chanted slogans in the rain
  • Some people were pleased that Trump came

President Donald Trump attended the game in Atlanta on Monday night and there was mixed reaction to him being there.

A few police officers looked on at the small, peaceful protest as a leader with a bullhorn led chants in the direction of fans streaming past them before game time to Mercedez-Benz Stadium, about three blocks away.

“Black lives matter! Women’s lives matter and immigrants’ lives matter!” protesters chanted, some opening umbrellas against the rain. Three of them carried a sign that said, “The Trump-Pence Machine Must Go.” Another sign in the group read, “Time’s Up.”

Tee Stern, with the group called Refuse Facism ATL, said the demonstration was called to “take a knee” against the Trump administration.

“We are getting the message out across the country to everyone that is agonizing and very angry and fearful of the fact that we are facing down a fascist regime and it needs to be stopped,” Stern told The Associated Press.

The protest came ahead of Trump’s scheduled arrival at the downtown Atlanta stadium for the planned 8 p.m. kickoff between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

As his motorcade arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, fans outside could be heard cheering and booing.

Trump took to the field for the national anthem just before kickoff, but the University of Georgia's Bulldogs and University of Alabama's Crimson Tide players were not on the field.

There has been no official word on why they did not come out, but the president has been very critical of athletes that kneel during the national anthem as a protest.

In fact, he had just addressed a crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville about respecting the flag a few hours before the game.

In another planned protest, the NAACP Atlanta branch urged people to wear white and wave white towels when the president arrived at the stadium or when his name was mentioned. Organizers said the show of white was intended to mock the “snowflake” insult that Trump supporters make against the president’s opponents.

“We’re going to make a snowflake turn into a mighty blizzard inside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium when Mr. Trump comes,” Gerald Griggs, a vice president of the Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said at a news conference earlier Monday.

Atlanta police set up designated areas for demonstrations and had previously said they would not interfere unless protesters break the law. Local, state and federal law enforcement authorities said they have worked for months to develop security plans.

The president did not get to see Alabama beat Georgia 26 to 23 as he left at half time.

That means he also probably have missed Grammy winning rapper Kendrick Lamar perform. Lamar is known for his politically fueled lyrics and his support for former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick who started the kneeling movement to protest police brutality and systematic racism.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.