In the wake of Donald Trump's controversial comments which breathed new life into the national anthem protest debate, Raiders owner Mark Davis said he no longer feels comfortable asking his players not to protest during the anthem.
Davis gave the following statement to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez:
About a year ago, before our Tennessee game, I met with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to ask their permission to have Tommie Smith light the torch for my father before the game in Mexico City. I explained to them that I was asking their permission because I had previously told them that I would prefer that they not protest while in the Raiders uniform. And should they have something to say, once their uniform was off, I might go up there with them. Over the last year, though, the streets have gotten hot and there has been a lot of static in the air and recently, fuel has been added to the fire. I can no longer ask our team to not say something while they are in a Raider uniform. The only thing I can ask them to do is do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That’s the challenge in front of us as Americans and human beings.
On Friday night, Trump said NFL owners should "fire" NFL players who protest the anthem and referred to them as "son of a b----." His comments have been criticized by multiple NFL owners, players and the commissioner. Widespread protests are expected across the NFL in defiance of the president.