Atlanta Falcons’ #RiseUp hashtag caught up in immigration protests

Buses carrying the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team are greeted by cheering fans during a send-off pep rally as they make their way to the airport for a flight to Houston and Super Bowl  LI, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Atlanta.
Caption
Buses carrying the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team are greeted by cheering fans during a send-off pep rally as they make their way to the airport for a flight to Houston and Super Bowl LI, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, in Atlanta.

Credit: John Bazemore

Credit: John Bazemore

The Atlanta Falcons left Sunday for Houston a week before they face off against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, and the team's fans are already cheering them on, both in person and on social media.

Explore» MORE: Photos: Falcons fans show support in sendoff pep rally

But Twitter’s official hashtag for the team, #RiseUp, got a boost from an unexpected source: people protesting against President Donald Trump’s executive order halting refugee arrivals and banning visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The use of the hashtag automatically inserts an emoji of the team’s logo into tweets, which has left some people on Twitter wondering why the protesters are rooting for a football team at the same time.

» RELATED: Congressmen: 11 held at Atlanta airport after Trump’s executive order

The protests began Saturday as foreign nationals - including legal permanent residents of the United States -  were detained at airports around the country. Eleven people were initially held in Atlanta, though the majority of them were released by late Saturday night.

In a statement Sunday, Trump said the order isn't about religion, but about "terror and keeping our country safe.

In Atlanta, the Falcons were given a send-off rally Sunday, just hours before hundreds of protesters began gathering at Hartfield-Jackson Airport.

» MORE: LIVE UPDATES: Hundreds now gathered at airport to protest Trump immigration order

By late Sunday afternoon, the majority of the tweets using the “#RiseUp” hashtag were Falcons-related, though around a quarter of tweets were still from protesters.

As the Falcons prepare to clash with the Patriots next Sunday, readers can follow full coverage from Houston at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Falcons page.

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