Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans chose not to stand during the National Anthem on Sunday in silent protest of president-elect Donald Trump.
“I’m not big on politics or anything like that, but I told myself, ‘If this happens, America is not right right now,'” Evans said on Sunday after his team’s 36-10 win over the Bears. “I said this a long time ago — when he ran, I thought it was a joke. The joke continues.”
Protests during the anthem have become a staple of the 2016 season, but Evans noted that his motives for sitting were different than those of Colin Kaepernick, who kneels during the anthem as a protest against institutional racism and police brutality.
“I’m doing it for a different reason, for how a reality star can be the president,” Evans said. “That’s not a good look. … I’m not a political person, but I have common sense and I know something is not right.”
Evans said that he heard a smattering of boos as he sat on the bench, but that he expected it. Sunday’s game was the Bucs’ “Salute to Service” game, which honours the armed services, but Evans noted his decision not to stand during the anthem had nothing to do with the military.
“I don’t want to disrespect the veterans or anything,” Evans said. “The men and women that served this country — I’m forever indebted to them. But the things that have been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that.”
“When Ashton Kutcher comes out and says, ‘We’ve been Punk’d,’ I’ll stand again, but I won’t stand anymore. It’s not about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or anything like that. It’s just who he is. It’s well-documented what he’s done. I’m not going to stand for something I don’t believe in. That’s the end of that.”
No photographers captured Evans during the anthem, but he could be spotted on the local TV broadcast:
The Buccaneers released the following statement on Evans:
“The Buccaneers are deeply committed to the military and honouring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country. We encourage all members of our organisation to respectfully honour our flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We also recognise every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish.”
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