Todd Bowles: 'Players have individual right to sit for Anthem'




The racial riots that are taking place across the country are drawing reactions from all corners of the world. America is a nation divided on racial and political lines and it's an unsettling time to say the least. New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles was the latest high profile personality to speak out against the hatred and bigotry that still exists in our great nation.

When asked by Jets beat reporters his reaction to players protesting the state of the country by sitting for the National Anthem, Gang Green's head coach wholeheartedly supported an individual's right to express themselves.

"Well, it’s their individual right," said Bowles. "We don’t have a rulebook on what’s right to protest and not protest. "You don’t know those things until the course of time, whether it’s sitting for the Anthem, whether it’s raising your fist, whether it’s speaking out, whether it’s the Walk to Washington, who is to say who’s protest is good or bad? As a football team, politics and people are human – they’re part of it – so you can’t say what’s good or bad. I’m sure mostly everybody – I know I’m against racism, segregation and all that other stuff, but how do we come to an answer? I don’t have that answer. How do we come to a common ground? I don’t have that answer. It’s a hell of a debate and a hell of a topic. It needs to stop. I don’t have the answers to that, but who is to say who’s protest is good or bad? That’s just the way they feel and that’s their right to express it. On if he would discuss the topic of protests with his players… We’ve talked about it. We talk about current events all the time. It’s more than football with us. We talk about a lot of things. It’s a different topic – everybody has their own feelings about it. You can’t sway anybody one way or the other. We’re all grown men here, so that’s how people feel, that has nothing to do with what they do in practice and what they do on the field, but separately off the field they are going to feel the way they feel."

Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit for the National Anthem last season sent shockwaves throughout the country and ushered in a movement to take a stand against racism in the United States.

I'm appalled and disgusted by the racial-based violence transpiring, but veterans in this country sacrificed for our freedom and I think it's a sign of disrespect for those whose lives have been lost trying to make the world a better place. There has to be a more appropriate manner to demonstrate disapproval of today's racial climate and not honoring the country by sitting actually offends the exact people who risked their lives to secure ALL of our freedom.

My grandfather was a paratrooper in World War II and with only an eighth grade education he worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant. He was drafted into the army, and never drew a weapon in his life until his country came calling him.

So while Bowles is defending his players' right to make their own choices, I would urge players to find a way to bring to light the ugly episodes of racial violence that are taking place, while at the same time not disrespecting the honorable servicemen and servicewoman who are stationed at home and oversees to keep us all safe.

"We’ve talked about it," said Bowles of discussing racial riots with his team. "We talk about current events all the time. It’s more than football with us. We talk about a lot of things. It’s a different topic – everybody has their own feelings about it. You can’t sway anybody one way or the other. We’re all grown men here, so that’s how people feel, that has nothing to do with what they do in practice and what they do on the field, but separately off the field they are going to feel the way they feel."
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Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

3 comments:

  1. Growing up a great man convinced me as a young boy to switch allegiances from Cowboys to Giants in terms of football fandom goes but today I root for both our country and my own family, first and foremost. It's definitely a disgrace what has transpired in our country for now what seems like close to a decade as the racial divide didn't start in Charlottesville, VA but hopefully it can end before my daughter is old enough to have such discussions around racsim. I will say that at least Kaepernick's decision to not stand for The National Anthem has started such talks which we all obviously are in desperate need of having. I was unaware until Wednesday morning how prior to the 2009 NFL Season the players would remain inside the locker rooms and only due to a deal which NFL struck with U.S. Defense to make NFL players look more "patriotic" did they become required to be out on the field prior to and during the playing of our anthem. NFL sure loves their money!

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  2. The world has gone insane. These NFL stars and coaches truly don't get it. They have a sound message about recognizing racism in this country, but they undercut their message and divide the country further by sitting/kneeling for the anthem and painting us all with the broad brush of racism. Just yesterday, Odell Beckham Jr. called a televised ESPN fantasy auction draft racist. If the Kaepernicks, the Marshawn Lynches, and Odells of the world truly care about stopping hate, they should go out and make a difference and talk to people of ALL races, ethnicities and creeds. This insanity has to stop.

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    Replies
    1. I agree! There has to be a way to peacefully protest the injustices in this country, but kneeling during a National Anthem is disrespectful!

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