The NFL controversy surrounding protests against police brutality during the national anthem continues. Roger Goodell sent a letter to all 32 teams stating that he wants players to stand, and that they’d discuss potential rules or measures at the fall meetings next week.
NFL players aren’t too happy with the NFL cracking down on their freedom to protest, though, including players who haven’t themselves protested. Like Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the whole team supports anyone who wants to protest during the national anthem.
"I had two teammates who did it in Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, that's their right to do that," McCoy 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."
The Bucs have largely stayed silent on the issue of protests, with only DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans taking a knee at any point during the season. Players appear to have the latitude to protest if they want, but few Bucs players have chosen to do so.
McCoy made his comments during Schefter’s podcast, in which he also discussed facing Adrian Peterson, Jameis Winston and more.
A few other Bucs talked to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times on the protests, and none of them were supportive of the NFL cracking down on them.
"We're human beings at the end of the day. We have a voice. We want to speak about certain social issues,” said wide receiver Mike Evans. Kevin Pamphile clarified that they weren’t “trying to bash the flag” or offend people with protests, while Jacquizz Rodgers emphasized that everyone should have the freedom to do what they want to do, and that the team supports whatever decision individual players make.