Several New York Giants players are reportedly considering protesting during the national anthem before they take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday, according to Tom Rock of Newsday.
Running back Rashad Jennings is part of a text thread with other NFL players from around the league that have protested. He has also been in contact with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the movement of anthem protests by sitting and later taking a knee during the preseason and continuing to do so during the regular season.
The fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American man, by police in Tulsa, Okla. may make Jennings and other Giants reconsider the decision to not protest in the first few weeks of the season.
“Remove football for a minute, and this is life,” Jennings said. “These are real issues that people are dealing with on a daily basis that are blinded by a lot of entertainment. And we’re a part of who we are entertaining. We’re football players. It’s Sunday, people think ‘What are they doing? What’s my fantasy points look like?’ In reality, people are dying.”
“Privileged people need to defend and actually voice out, not the oppressed,” Jennings added. “That’s just complaining. The people who are privileged need to voice it themselves and say: ‘This isn’t right.’ That’s what Kaep’s doing, that’s what a lot of people are doing. That’s what my whole conversation with Kaep was about, understanding where he’s coming from. And I support that 100 percent.”
The Giants have not had any players protest in the first two weeks of the season. Head coach Ben McAdoo has previously said that he would be disappointed if a player did not stand for the anthem, but told reporters Wednesday he encouraged players to find a way to protest and “make a difference” outside of those circumstances.
“They’re conflicted and they want to make a difference,’’ McAdoo said, according to The New York Post. “The league is a platform to make a difference. I encourage them to. I would like to be involved in that. Anything I can do to help. Still, I feel that you can make a difference outside of the anthem. We can do something together to make a difference. It doesn’t have to involve the national anthem. I still believe that you pay tribute to the people that sacrifice their lives so that we can coach and play in this great game. That’s what I believe.’’