The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had two players protesting during the national anthem today: wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans both took a knee. President Donald Trump had unleashed a storm of criticism after calling for players who protested during the national anthem to be fired, and Jackson and Evans appeared to be reacting specifically to those comments.
I definitely will be making a statement no disrespect to our military of service But we have to stick together as people !! Unity— Desean Jackson (@DeSeanJackson11) September 23, 2017
Most NFL teams as well as commissioner Roger Goodell released statements condemning Trump’s statements and expressing support for their players’ right to protest in whatever way they saw fit. Update: the Bucs released the following statement:
A statement from the Buccaneers: pic.twitter.com/Xfamm2ihco— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) September 24, 2017
“As we have stated previously, the Buccaneers recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American way of life that we cherish. We are equally committed to the principles of inclusivity and respect for differing points of view that should be afforded to all Americans.” —Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer
Mike Evans protested against Donald Trump last year by sitting during the national anthem, though he later apologized for doing so.Earlier, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had told Peter Schrager of FOX Sports that he’d stand for the national anthem as usual.
Gerald McCoy tells me he will stand for National Anthem as always. Notes that "no man-- President or otherwise-- will dictate my actions." pic.twitter.com/t1Zb9rP1ua— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) September 24, 2017
Prior to the regular season, head coach Dirk Koetter told the Bucs that they’d support them whatever they chose to do or not to do during the national anthem.