The Lions were one of many teams to have meetings between players and ownership regarding the national anthem and player protests this week and it included a request from owner Martha Ford.
Multiple Lions players said that Ford asked players to stand for the anthem while also pledging to support the players’ attempts to address to societal issues at the heart of the protests around the league.
“She just asked us not to take the knee and basically told us – not basically, she told us she would back and support financially as well as put her name on whatever issues that we wanted to try to attack,” defensive end Cornelius Washington said, via the Detroit Free Press. “But as far as the kneeling, she just I guess felt like there was better ways to get the point across. And at this point, people know what we’re kneeling for so now trying to take that next step in the plan of action to foster change is, that’s the next part and that’s the part she’s willing to get behind.”
“We do dance around the topic a lot and Mrs. Ford has come forward and said that as long a we compromise as a team and unify and make a unified demonstration, she’ll back us financially. So I’m definitely going to hold her to her word,” running back Ameer Abdullah said.
Two Lions players — linebackers Steve Longa and Jalen Reeves-Maybin — took a knee before Sunday’s victory over the Vikings. Washington said “there were probably alternate reasons for” the players to do so, which may be a reference to Longa keeping his head bowed in apparent prayer a few days after his father was killed in a car accident.