New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees created a firestorm on social media in June for comments he made about kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
Chiefs players, including defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward, took exception with Brees’ words. A day later Mathieu and quarterback Patrick Mahomes joined other NFL players in speaking out about the murder of George Floyd. They asked the NFL to “condemn racism and the systemic oppression of Black people” and admit it was wrong to silence players who engage in peaceful protests.
The latter was in reference to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who hasn’t found an job in the NFL since he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016
After the video was released, Mahomes was asked about Brees’ comment on kneeling during the anthem, for which Brees later apologized.
“Obviously, his statement missed the point, and missed what was going on in the world today and took away attention from the movement that was going on and the peaceful protesting that was going on,” Mahomes said.
With the Chiefs set to open the 2020 NFL season in less than a month at Arrowhead Stadium, will Mahomes, Mathieu or others take a knee during the national anthem?
President Donald Trump said in an interview Tuesday with “Outkick the Coverage” he hopes they don’t.
“You’re making millions of dollars to play the sport. They have to respect their country,” Trump said, per the New York Post. “If they don’t stand for their flag, I would be very happy if the NFL didn’t open. With that being said, I would love to see them open.”
A number of NFL players (and at least one coach) already have said they will kneel during the playing of the national anthem, including Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and running back Kenyan Drake, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Saints running back Alvin Kamara.
None of the Chiefs players have said publicly what they will do, but coach Andy Reid was asked about it in June and indicated he’d be fine with it.
“This isn’t about kneeling. It’s about progress,” Reid said. “We all get hung up on this other deal. That’s not what this is about. If we could just focus in on appreciating life, appreciating people. Not judging by the outer skin. …
“So, let’s get away from judging. This goes for everybody. We’re talking about racial issues. Let’s get in and see what’s inside people, and when you do, you’re going to see beauty. There are some beautiful, beautiful people out there that we’re putting walls up against and we don’t have an opportunity to be here on Earth very long.”
After Reid spoke that day, Mahomes said being a nationally recognized athlete gives him an opportunity to speak out on social issues.
“Enough is enough,” Mahomes told reporters. “We gotta do something about this. I’m blessed to have this platform. Why not use it?”
Will that include kneeling before the Chiefs-Texans game on Sept. 10? We’ll find out soon.
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