President Donald Trump was greeted with a booming chorus of cheers mixed with some boos as he took the field Monday for the playing of the national anthem ahead of the College Football Playoff title game between Georgia and Alabama. A year ago, Trump described Atlanta on Twitter as "falling apart" and "crime infested", because Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) refused to attend his inauguration.
But then President Donald Trump decided to make an appearance on Monday, presumably playing to his base in the Deep South states of Alabama and Georgia.
As a result, several groups, including the NAACP, have planned protests at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Some fans had been stuck outside for an hour during an unusually frigid and wet evening as the area around the stadium locked down for the arrival of the president's motorcade. Wearing white is apparently meant to mock the "snowflake" label that Trump's supporters made popular.
President Donald Trump stands on the field for the National Anthem before the start of the NCAA National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium between Georgia and Alabama, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Atlanta. After ROTC members escorted him onto the field, the president stood with his hand over his heart and an American flag pin on his lapel.More news: Female BBC News editor speaks out against her employer's 'illegal pay culture'
Trump, who has criticized professional athletes for kneeling during the National Anthem, appeared in good spirits on the field Monday - and then after the anthem, he left to take his seat for the game.
The college teams remained in their locker rooms during the anthem.
Much as in the NFL and National Basketball Association, the two biggest strongholds of Trump opposition in sports, black athletes make up a sizable majority of the players in major college football.
The president watched the game from a private box overlooking the Alabama sideline, flanked by ROTC students. Rapper Kendrick Lamar, who has been a critic of the president, was set to perform during the break.