McCoy said there would be 'uproar' if players were forced to stand.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy told ESPN's Adam Schefter there would be "uproar" among athletes if NFL players were forced to stand during the national anthem.
"I don't think guys are gonna like it," McCoy said. "I think it's gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you're basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don't think it's right to take that away from guys."
The comments came following a memo that was released Tuesday from commissioner Roger Goodell, stating that "Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem … We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
The NFL's owners will meet next week to discuss the issue.
President Donald Trump tweeted in response Wednesday morning, saying "It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY."
But the NFL released a statement Wednesday, saying Trump statement in the tweet was "not accurate."
McCoy, who has played eight years in the league, told Schefter he does not plan on kneeling for the anthem, but that those who do will have the whole team's support.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Several other NFL players, as well as numerous other athletes across America, ultimately joined him. The protests grew this season after Trump criticized NFL players who chose to follow suit. Trump said owners should "fire" NFL players who protest the anthem and referred to them as "son[s] of b------". Players responded by protesting en masse.