‘It’s Disgusting’: NFL Fans React to National Anthem Protests
Disrespecting The National Anthem And The American Flag
Dozens of NFL players on Sunday refused to stand for the national anthem to protest racism in America and to defy President Donald Trump’s call for players who disrespect the country to be fired.
Many players took a knee or sat during the anthem, while some entire teams remained in the locker room.
LeSean McCoy Outright Disrespects The National Anthem
The Bill’s running back has a total contract worth $41.55 million.
The Bills running back not only took a knee, but he continued warming up while the anthem was playing prior to the Bills vs. Broncos game. McCoy both ran in place and lossened up his legs during the song.
McCoy’s opinion on the matter has clearly changed since he sounded off on Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to take a knee during the anthem, in August.
“There’s certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there’s other players that it’s not good enough or not worth it,” McCoy said of the former 49ers quarterback who is now unemployed. “I think his situation is not good enough to have him on the team with all the attention that comes along with it.”
McCoy’s decision to forgo standing or kneeling with his teammates comes off the heels of a weekend’s worth of comments from President Donald Trump condemning the ongoing protests of the national anthem at NFL games across the country.
Alejandro Villanueva, the Steelers offensive tackle who stepped out onto the sidelines to put his hand over his chest and stand tall during the national anthem Sunday in Chicago as the rest of his team remained in the tunnel.
Villanueva, a former US Army captain and an Army Ranger who earned a Bronze Star for valor in serving three tours of duty in Afghanistan, emerged from the tunnel to stand with much of the crowd during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
He instantly became a cult hero, his jersey becoming the sixth-best-selling on the NFL website not even 24 hours removed from existing in offensive-line obscurity.
“We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously, ” longtime Steelers star linebacker James Harrison told Penn Live. “But, I guess we weren’t.”
“I don’t want to go into that, but we support our guy Al,” defensive end Cam Heyward said about Villanueva, who did not talk to media after the game. “He feels he had to do it. This guy served our country, and we thank him for it.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin said the team held a players-only meeting Saturday to discuss their options. Whatever they did, Tomlin said, they would do 100 percent. They could not come to an agreement whether to stand, sit or kneel as a team, and so they decided to abstain from the anthem entirely (which was then construed as its own protest, such is the pick-a-side nature of the situation).
“I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin told reporters when asked about Villanueva after the Steelers’ 23-17 overtime loss.
The protest, which was followed by more demonstrations, came hours after Mr Trump called for a boycott of the NFL as he vented his fury on Twitter throughout the day.
In a direct challenge to Trump, two dozen players from the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars went down on bended knee as the US national anthem was played while others, including the Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who is Muslim, stood and locked arms.
More than 150 players could be seen kneeling or sitting in the 14 games that took place on Sunday, easily the largest such demonstration since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began protesting in 2016.
One of the biggest protests took place in the nation’s capital, where almost the entire lineup of the Oakland Raiders team sat on their bench ahead of their game with the Washington Redskins.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans took a different approach later by staying in their locker rooms.
Donald Trump insisted on Sunday that a wave of protests held by National Football League players during the US anthem before games had “nothing to do with race”.
Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8. of the US Code, called “Respect for the Flag,” spells out the dos and don’ts when it comes to the national symbol. Like another section of the US Code, which describes the proper behavior during the singing of the national anthem—“all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart”—the “Respect the Flag” portion is a guide. There is no federal punishment for violating it.