Patriots fans react to players taking a knee at Gillette
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WJAR) —
National Football League players, including about a dozen New England Patriots, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem Sunday.
Since last season some NFL players have taken a knee at times as a form of protest.
Players participating said the purpose is to address racial inequality in the United States. President Donald Trump recently encouraged NFL fans to boycott games and called for team owners to fire players for protesting.
At Gillette Stadium Sunday, the Houston Texans locked arms along the sideline prior to kickoff. Some New England Patriots players did the same while about a dozen of them took a knee.
After the game several players said their protest shouldn't be interpreted as a sign of disrespect towards the military.
"My father was a marine, my uncle was a marine, family fought in the Vietnam War," said Patriots wide receiver, Brandin Cooks. Cooks added, “The message is we want respect and unity."
Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola also addressed the protests after the game.
"We're solid in here I know that. White, black, Puerto Rican, it doesn't matter.
We're good in here and we have a really solid group," said Amendola. Houston Texans team members locked arms as a sign of solidarity.
Boos were heard from the crowd at Gillette Stadium following anthem protests.
"I'm 100% against it. There are different ways to protest. The national anthem and the flag stands for our country."
"It's a black eye for the NFL and I know a lot of people that aren't watching football because of that," said Patriots fan, Kevin Carr.
"Everybody has a right to protest and everybody has a right to express themselves.
They did it peacefully. Not everybody is going to agree with it, but this is America," said Patriots fan, Carl Graves.
Prior to kickoff Patriots team owner, Robert Kraft, released a statement which read, "I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful."