Sunday saw players on various NFL teams kneel for the national anthem, and while some in the league are understanding of the move, others disagree.
A handful of members of the New England Patriots took a knee before Sunday's matchup with the Houston Texans, drawing boos from the crowd, and Matt Light, who won three Super Bowls as a Patriots offensive lineman, has no issue with their reaction.
Speaking to the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian, Light said he felt “ashamed” to see Patriots kneeling during the anthem:
“If you think that it’s OK to take a knee during our national anthem and disrespect openly the national anthem, you are wrong. I don’t care if you have a ‘but what about’ or a ‘it’s because of' — that doesn’t matter.”
This “would have never happened during my time,” the three-time Pro Bowler continued. “As a guy that’s been there and helped set up the Patriot Way so they can walk in there and do what they do, it’s beyond disheartening. It’s the first time I’ve ever been ashamed to be a Patriot. And I promise you I’m not the only one.”
Light, who said he attended the game with a 91-year-old veteran and the wife of a slain SEAL Team 6 member, recalled how the players' actions put them in a difficult spot:
"Her husband died, gave his life up so that they could do that. That’s the reality that these so-called men don’t understand. Is it about their cause or is it about them? If it was about their cause, I could come up with a million different ways for them to really truly change things. If it’s about them, well … you see what happens. The collateral damage is widespread.
They obviously didn’t think about anybody other than themselves.”
Former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, however, supported the players' move as a sign of resistance to President Donald Trump's comments late last week.
“[Trump is] the leader of this country and to talk to citizens the way he did, no matter what’s going on, talk to us like that, is unacceptable hands down,” Wilfork said, per CBS Boston. “The players are relaying their message on the platform and they have so they have every right to do that.”
Patriots safety Devin McCourty added this was not meant as a sign of disrespect to anyone: “We just wanted to send a message of unity and being together and not standing for the disrespect.”