Jacksonville's Heavy Military Presence Makes Jaguars Players Hesitant To Join NFL Protests
Many Jaguars players are "reluctant to stage a protest by sitting or raising a fist during the national anthem," as those players are concerned "how that choice of dissent might be viewed, especially among a Jaguars’ fan base with a heavy military presence," according to Gene Frenette of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Jags S Peyton Thompson said, "The best way to look at is it’s a contradicting situation because you support both sides. It’s hard as an African-American player, or any player that supports the cause (of those protesting against social injustice), and someone who supports the military, especially in a town like this. I don’t think there’s anybody here who supports putting down another race or not seeing somebody else as equal. We all support each other. But in a town like Jacksonville or San Diego, it’s hard for players to take a knee (during the anthem) because they support both sides. In military towns, you have to find a way to take a stance in your own way, speak for what you believe in. But you definitely don’t want to offend anybody on either side." Frenette writes the heavy military presence in Jacksonville is why people have "not seen any Jaguars, so far anyway, following the recent actions of several NFL players who have shown public displays of unity that support" Colin Kaepernick’s cause. Few Jags players are "more conflicted about the Kaepernick fallout" than DT Abry Jones, whose parents "both served in the Army." Jones said, "I’m always going to put my hand over my chest (during the anthem). I understand what’s going on out there with Kaepernick and his stance, but I also got two parents in the military who were ready to lay down their life for things like [freedom of speech]. ... I respect Kaepernick and everything he did. He stood for something, even if people don’t agree with how he did it. I don’t take that away from him" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/30).
ALL IN? FS1's Colin Cowherd said of Kaepernick giving advice on protests during the national anthem, "I don't have a problem with Kaepernick being a quarterback and an activist. ... I have no problem with (Seahawks DE) Michael Bennett having political opinions and being a football player, but I know Michael is all in on football. From the very beginning, it's like Kaepernick doesn't have a football quote in 18 months." FS1's Jason Whitlock said, "Let's be clear, no one is against Kaepernick's message but if you want to play in the NFL, there is a way you have to go about it and he's not doing those things." FS1's Tony Gonzalez added, "If I was him, anybody I talk to I would say, 'We can talk about it, I will counsel you, but don't say that you spoke to me,' if I'm trying to get a job back in the NFL" (Speak for Yourself," FS1, 8/28).