The Buffalo Bills, for the first time since protests during the national anthem began, had a significant amount of players take part in a protest ahead of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos. The headliner of the dozen or so players that elected to protest was none other than LeSean McCoy, who not only took a knee, but also elected to stretch while the anthem was being played.
On Wednesday, he had the chance to speak more about the decision, Jim Kelly's comments about losing respect for the running back, and where the protests go from here:
Q: Jim Kelly said he texted you, and he said all was good between you two. What's your version?
A: Hey, like I texted him, he said some things to the media that he probably could have said to me. But, his opinion, it really doesn’t matter to me. I like Jim Kelly. He texted me and I told him, hey, you’re human! People have their own opinions. And what you said, you don’t have to apologize for. I don’t think you’re wrong — that’s how you felt. I understand. You’re human. And I told him exactly, my respect for you hasn’t changed. It’s still very high. He’s a hell of a player and I respect him, and I love him, and even the relationship we had so far — it didn’t effect me at all. I mean, opinions good or bad, football-wise or outside of football, it wouldn’t matter to me as far as him as a person. That’s just his opinion. He’s a human being.
Q: Some other players on your team knelt and kept it at just that. You decided to do a little bit more with the exercising. Why did you choose to do it that way?
A: I was extremely hurt, to be honest. Because at first, everybody has their own opinions like I talked about. People believe in different things, they stand up for whatever they stand up for, that’s their right. Some of the words that the President used… it just rubbed me the wrong way. I was upset. I was frustrated and that’s the way I wanted to express myself at the game. I took a knee, I started stretching… I was angry. I was hurt. Like I said before after the game, somebody like the president, and being our leader of this country for millions and millions and millions of people, that look at America — see the type of words and the things he’s saying about us. It just got to me, it really did. Every week will be different, like Tyrod talked about earlier, how the team, how we’ll talk on the council as a group. Because at the end of the day, man, we play football. We’re a football team. We talk about being together as a country and that’s the same thing with this team. We want to be together. It’s okay to express your feelings in a different way, but I don’t want to make it where every week we’re addressing this, every practice we’re addressing this — taking away from our job. Because on that field, man, it’s go. Them guys on defense are trying to hit us hard and be physical with us, so we want to make sure we’re mentally focused on the job at hand and we play together… we’re focused.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you do it differently?
A: Nah. Nope, same way, same way. I’d do it the same way.
Q: What are you planning to do next week?
A: I haven’t thought about that. Like I said before, that was last week. I think it’s a lot of — if you’ve seen around the whole NFL — took the president’s words and really expressed themselves. Some teams didn’t even come out for the national anthem. Guys were just extremely hurt, like myself. So this week, we really want to get back to just playing football and focusing. And I guess we’ll go over that with the council, and see where the team, how we feel together, and where we’ll go for the future.