Only two days after kneeling to the National Anthem to protest the election of Donald Trump as president, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver WR Mike Evans has changed his mind. He released a statement to several media outlets today, saying he will “seek more effective ways” to express his feelings.
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Just last Sunday, the superstar player said that he didn’t plan to stand for the rest of the season.
“I don’t want to disrespect the veterans or anything. The men and women that serve this country, I’m forever indebted to them,” Evans said. “But the things that have been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that.
He continued, “I told myself…, ‘If this happens, then America is not right right now. I said it a long time ago. When he ran, I thought it was a joke. The joke continues.”
Evans said that he would continue to kneel during the National Anthem until “Ashton Kutcher comes out and says we’ve been punked, then I’ll stand again. But I won’t stand anymore.”
He is now, however, whistling a different tune after receiving criticism, including from coach Dick Koetter, according to USA Today.
“I’m disappointed for that,” Koetter said in a news conference Monday. “But, again, I also respect Mike’s freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”
Late Sunday evening, the Bucs released an official statement concerning Mike Evans’ protest.
“The Buccaneers are deeply committed to the military and honoring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country. We encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We also recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish.”