Following the comments from President Donald Trump about some players in the National Football League choosing to protest in some form while the national anthem is being played ahead of the game, it fostered a super-charged environment around the league where many fans were left wondering what their favorite team may or may not do during the national anthem on Sunday, September 24.
On Sunday, some members of the Bills decided to protest the comments from the President of the United States. Star running back LeSean McCoy elected to take a knee and sit and stretch while the national anthem was being played, while some members of the Bills decided to just kneel, and while others chose to lock arms and stand.
In addition to McCoy, among those that chose to kneel were Marcell Dareus, Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis, Lorenzo Alexander, Jordan Matthews, Shareece Wright, and Mike Tolbert among others. Ahead of the game, Tolbert showed his thoughts on the matter in the workout shirt he chose to wear during pregame.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) September 24, 2017
The entire team came out in one line together about seven yards off of the sideline while the anthem was being played.
This is all following Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama, in which he said:
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. He is fired. He's fired!" Trump said. “Total disrespect of our heritage, a total disrespect of everything that we stand for. Everything that we stand for."
While some players took to social media to express their views, the Bills and team owners Terry and Kim Pegula issued a statement the night before their home game against the Denver Broncos.
“Several of us met tonight — players, coaches, staff, and ownership. Our goal was to provide open dialogue and communication. We listened to one another. We believe it’s the best way to work through any issue we are facing — on and off the field.
President Trump’s remarks were divisive and disrespectful to the entire NFL community, but we tried to use them as an opportunity to further unify our team and organization.
Our players have the freedom to express themselves in a respectful and thoughtful manner and we all agreed that our sole message is to provide and to prove an environment that is focused on love and equality.”
The first chance to speak with Bills players after Trump’s comments, and about their decision on Sunday, will come following the game against the Broncos.