Roger Goodell sent a letter to NFL owners informing them that they would prefer to have the players standing during the National Anthem, but they are not likely to ban the anthem protests.
Gerald McCoy the Buccaneers defensive tackle said that if the NFL does ban the protests it could get ugly.
“I think it’s gonna be a negative reaction,” McCoy said on Adam Schefter’s podcast Wednesday. “I don’t think guys are gonna like it. I think it’s gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you’re basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a — I guess you would call it a peaceful protest — I don’t think it’s right to take that away from guys.”
Our president released this tweet:
It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
The NFL came back quickly with a statement regarding the tweet:
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the Anthem is not accurate,” the league said. “As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together. Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
McCoy himself has not protested but he says he supports his teammates who have kneeled peacefully.
“I had two teammates who did it in Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, that’s their right to do that,” he said. “And if they’re gonna do it, they’re gonna have support of the whole team.
“But if you take that away from them, there’s gonna be an uproar — it’s just gonna happen — because now it’s just like you have a voice at one point, but then you don’t at this point. And, that’s our right … it’s a constitutional right that we have, and if you take that away, I don’t think people are gonna take too kindly to it.”