Not every player who has protested during the national anthem will continue this weekend, on the heels of the league’s deal to throw cash at a PR problem in hopes it goes away.
But Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon said he’s going to continue to kneel, as he has since Week Three, when President Donald Trump railed against protesting players and ignited a new wave of them. And while Vernon knows his position may not be popular in some quarters, he’s not deterred by the abuse he hears from the stands.
“You hear ‘coward’ and ‘stand up’ and ‘disgrace,’’ Vernon said, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “It’s fine. As long as nobody comes on the field and touches me. You stay where you at, you’re going to be all right. They have a right. Oh yeah, I hear it all the time.
(That sound you hear is Giants owner John Mara and partners cringing, as they’re doing their best to make people forget this is a thing.)
But Vernon said the reason for his kneeling remains the same, and has nothing to do with the military. The son of a police officer, Vernon wants to call attention to issues of racial injustice.
“At the end of the day, you want to fight for something that’s right,’’ Vernon said. “At least some type change that can help elevate something, you just see something that’s being pushed. I feel like it’s a small step, but it is progress.
“I’m fine where I’m at right now. Ain’t nothing wrong with feeling bad for what you believe in. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I stand behind my beliefs.’’
He was generally encouraged by the league’s deal to donate about $90 million to social justice causes, calling it “making progress, moving forward.”
But it’s not enough to make him stand, and the criticism that comes from the stands or 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue aren’t enough to deter him.