WASHINGTON -- As the national anthem played at a Tuesday afternoon patriotism celebration at the White House, a member of the crowd took a knee.
Swedish journalist Carina Bergfeldt told ABC News that the man was clearly kneeling as a form of protest.
"He went down during the anthem, stayed throughout the song and then left quietly. He didn't stay for the president's speech," Bergfeldt said, adding that the man declined to give his name.
The man's actions appeared to be a nod to the previously scheduled visit by the Philadelphia Eagles that was scrapped over the contentious dispute about whether NFL players protesting racial injustice must stand during the playing of the national anthem.
During the event, President Donald Trump did not mention the Eagles. He accused players of abandoning their fans because many had said they wouldn't show up. The president said that the nation needs to remember the "fallen heroes" and that the country stands together "for freedom, we stand together for patriotism."
None of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Man kneels during national anthem at Pres. Trump's 'Celebration of America' event without Philadelphia Eagles