In the immediate aftermath of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he’d be “disappointed” if any of his players didn’t stand.
But after talking to a number of his players, the rookie head coach said he’s modified his stance.
“As a coach, we have bunker mentality. A lot of times, we don’t know or see what’s happening. And the players, they’re out there a little bit more than we are,” McAdoo said, via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. “There’s a lot of serious and heavy issues. And they’re at a conflict, I think, a lot of them. . . .
“I had a conversation with a few guys — and I’m not going to name [names] — but they’re conflicted and they want to make a difference. And the league is a platform to make a difference, and I encourage them too, and I’d like to be involved in it and [do] anything I can do to help. But still, I feel that you can make a difference outside of the anthem, and we can do something together to make a difference and it doesn’t have to involve the national anthem. I still believe that you [should] pay tribute to the people who’ve sacrificed their lives so we can coach and play in this great game.”
Of course, Kaepernick’s beef has never been with the military, despite the efforts of his opponents to portray him as unpatriotic in that way. And running back Rashad Jennings said the Giants aren’t focusing as much on the anthem anyway.
“I really feel it’s important people don’t get so focused and fixated on making gestures during the national anthem,” Jennings said, “to a point where you men and women are writing the stories and missing the whole reason behind it.”
It remains to be seen what avenue the Giants players take, but McAdoo has proven himself willing to listen to them, which can’t hurt his standing in his own locker room.