One NFL player is promising “uproar” if athletes are forced to stand for the national anthem.
“If you take that away from them, there's gonna be an uproar,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told ESPN's Adam Schefter. “It's just gonna happen, because now it's just like you have a voice at one point, but then you don't at this point.”
McCoy made the statement just hours after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the organization believes “everyone should stand for the national anthem.”
In addition, Dallas Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones said over the weekend he will bench any players who take a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” — a decision that led one ESPN host to liken him to a slave owner.
Despite the fact that the NFL is a private business, and players are essentially employees, McCoy believes the league would be stepping on athletes' constitutional rights by requiring them to stand during the anthem ceremony.
“If you take that away,” he said, “I don't think people are gonna take too kindly to it.”
An NFL-wide decision on the matter has not yet been reached, according to ESPN. Team owners will discuss the matter at a meeting next week. The NFL said, in part, in a statement that it is “doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.”
As for the Buccaneers, the team's coaches or owner have not announced an official policy on protesting during the national anthem.