The recent days have been filled with debate on the action taken by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick before Friday night’s preseason game. The QB chose to not stand (full within his right as an NFL player and American) during the National Anthem pregame to the matchup between the 49ers and Packers.
Some fellow NFL players have spoken out, and some have kept quiet, but the NY Giants seeming took a stand (quite literally) against Kaepernick’s actions, sending a message loud and clear with an almost military-style lineup on the sideline during their National Anthem Saturday night.
Giants, including Justin Pugh, standing for the national anthem pic.twitter.com/qo3GhKZRSz
— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) August 27, 2016
Pretty deliberate sideline for the Giants during the anthem tonight. All players and staff standing. pic.twitter.com/5iqUJp4eqQ
— tara sullivan (@Record_Tara) August 27, 2016
You can see an obvious difference between not just Kaepernick, but the entire team’s demeanor relative to how the 49ers stood and even the Jets, whom the Giants faced.
Numerous Giants players spoke out publicly on the matter, including Victor Cruz and Justin Pugh, who took to Twitter to react to the Kaepernick:
I will be STANDING during the National Anthem tonight. Thank you to ALL (Gender,Race,Religion)that put your lives on the line for that flag
— Justin Pugh (@JustinPugh) August 27, 2016
Pugh touched on his tweets, later saying, “I’ve never walked in his shoes either so I don’t know what he goes through.” But Kaepernick’s decision not to stand, and his exclusive comments to Steve Wyche of NFL Media, created a stir in the sports world.
WR Victor Cruz also left his thoughts during an interview, stating, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in the interview. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
“Regardless of how you feel about the things that are going on in America today and the things that are going on across the world with gun violence and things of that nature, you’ve got to respect the flag,” Cruz said. “And you’ve got to stand up with your teammates. It’s bigger than just you, in my opinion. I think you go up there, you’re with a team and you go and you pledge your allegiance to the flag and you sing the national anthem with your team. And then you go about your business, whatever your beliefs are.
“On a personal standpoint, I think you have to stand up with your team, and understand that this game and what’s on around the country is bigger than just you,” he added.