Not everybody was going to agree with the decision of many NFL players to kneel during the national anthem on Sunday. After around 20 New England Patriots players took the knee, one former player for the team wasn’t happy.
Matt Light, who spent 11 years as an offensive tackle for the Patriots, said that he was “disheartened” to see his former teammates take a knee while he was sitting next to the wife of a slain SEAL Team 6 member.
“If you think that it’s OK to take a knee during our national anthem and disrespect openly the national anthem, you are wrong,” Light told the Boston Herald. “I don’t care if you have a ‘but what about’ or a ‘it’s because of,’ that doesn’t’ matter.”
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been ashamed to be a Patriot. And I promise you I’m not the only one,” he added.
Light also said that he was surprised coach Bill Belichick allowed the protest to happen.
“Nobody can force anybody to do anything in a situation like that. If he chooses to do it he’s going to do it,” Light said. “But I’m going to tell you this much, with the amount of preparation and attention to detail and all the things that happen in that organization, I’m really surprised that it wasn’t dealt with so it didn’t get to that point.”
Many Patriots fans agreed with Light, booing the players on the field.
The league-wide protest came following President Donald Trump’s weekend criticisms of athletes who kneel during the “Star Spangled Banner.” During a rally and on Twitter Saturday, Trump said people should boycott players who kneel and that teams should fire players who do so.
The protest was started last season by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to speak out against racial injustice.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a longtime friend of Trump, said he was “deeply disappointed” with the president’s comments in a statement released on the Patriots’ Twitter page.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 24, 2017
Other teams that had players kneeling Sunday include the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions.