After three weeks of widespread protests, the NFL is facing increasing pressure to force its players to stand for the national anthem, but one veteran player believes that banning the demonstrations could have unintended consequences.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is playing his eighth NFL season, and while he has yet to protest the national anthem himself, he supports those who want to do so. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Oklahoma product predicted that players would have an overwhelmingly negative reaction if forced to stand.
“I don’t think guys are gonna like it,” he said. “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.”
The NFL has tolerated national anthem protests for more than a year now, but their increased prevalence this season has made them more difficult to ignore. Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on the issue earlier this week, expressing a desire to “move past” the debate and find a common solution.
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem,” the statement read in part. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
Soon after, President Donald Trump, an outspoken critic of the anthem protests, praised the NFL for “finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem” via Twitter, though the league later clarified that there are no plans to force players to stand.
Source:: Business Insider