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Victor Cruz on Colin Kaepernick’s protest: ‘You’ve got to respect the flag’

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit out the national anthem in protest of racial oppression on Friday has players around the league talking.
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Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit out the national anthem in protest of what he called racial oppression on Friday has players around the league talking.

Some, like Dolphins running back Arian Foster, have come out in support of the 49ers quarterback. Others, like Giants wideout Victor Cruz, say they wouldn’t have done the same thing.

Speaking after the Giants’ preseason game against the Jets on Saturday, Cruz told reporters that while Kaepernick was exercising his right to protest he, personally, would “respect the flag.”

• MMQB: Colin Kaepernick stands up by sitting down

From ESPN:

“Colin is his own man. He decided to sit down and that is his prerogative, but on a personal standpoint, I think you have to stand up there with your team and understand that this game and what’s going on around this country are bigger than you,” Cruz said.

“I think, personally, the flag is the flag ... Regardless of how you feel about 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, 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 know you pledge your allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem with your team and then you go about your business, whatever your beliefs are.”

The 28-year-old told reporters on Sunday that he will continue to sit during the anthem until “there’s significant change.”

In a statement issued Saturday, the NFL said players are “encouraged but not required to stand” during the anthem.