Panthers' Richardson Finally Makes Statement On Trump, But Is It Strong Enough?
The Panthers' Jerry Richardson yesterday became the 31st NFL owner or team to "release a statement" in the wake of President Trump's comments this weekend, though he did not refer to Trump "by name or mention the demonstrations across the league," according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The statement read in part, "We are proud of the men we have on this football team. Our players have been active and impactful participants in making our community stronger. ... Politicizing the game is damaging and takes the focus off the greatness of the game itself and those who played it.” Richardson did "not specify to whom the final part of that statement was directed." Rodrigue notes the statement followed a "wave of peaceful demonstrations during the national anthem, during which some players across the league linked arms, knelt or sat." Some owners "linked arms with their players, and some teams remained in the locker room during the anthem" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/26). In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes Richardson "appears to be very much a member of the #StickToSports crowd" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/26).
TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: Saints RB Mark Ingram was among the team's players who sat on the bench during the national anthem prior to Sunday's game against the Panthers, and he said that fans at Bank of America Stadium "were not receptive" to the gesture. Ingram: "They were saying, 'Stand up, losers' and all of that" (AL.com, 9/25). SI.com's Jonathan Jones wrote it could be argued there was "no game more cloaked in Americana Sunday" than Saints-Panthers. Two American flags "were on the field during the national anthem." Early in the first quarter, military members sitting in Section 105’s Row of Honor were "acknowledged by the crowd as Lee Greenwood’s 'God Bless the USA' played." Shortly at the start of the second half, James Brown’s “Living In America” played as nine military members from Langley Air Force Base who participated in the pregame flyover "were recognized" (SI.com, 9/25).