Sean McDermott on players protesting anthem: “The key word here is respect”

AP

For NFL players whose roster spots are secure, using the national anthem as a vehicle for protesting or highlighting a cause entails little professional risk. For players on the bubble, it’s a different issue altogether.

On Thursday, Bills offensive tackle Cameron Jefferson — who has bounced from team to team in three years and hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game — decided to throw caution completely to the wind and raise a fist, motivated by the example set by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who placed an arm on Jenkins’ shoulder during the anthem.

“I saw him across the field and I felt inspired to do the same and follow suit,” Jefferson said Friday, via Matthew Fairburn of nyup.com. “I feel like it’s my duty as an athlete with my platform to do anything I can to help people in need against police brutality in the black and brown communities. I was already thinking about it but something in my gut and my spirit said, ‘Go ahead, Cam. You can do it.'”

But what about the potential impact on his ability to earn a place on the 53-man roster?

“[W]hen you’re doing the right thing and doing good, I feel like God’s going to take care of you and protect you no matter what,” Jefferson said.

Based on Sunday comments from coach Sean McDermott, Jefferson won’t need protection from his employer.

“Cam and I spoke about it,” McDermott told reporters. “We spoke about it yesterday and then we talked about it as a team today. What I want all of our players to understand is that we are going to support them, number one. Everyone obviously has their view on things and I think the key word here is respect. We respect Cam’s opinion. We respect and acknowledge what’s going on, and it’s important that we can communicate and a big part of communication is listening and I did a lot of listening yesterday. That was very healthy. We had a good conversation this morning as a team about it, and I thought it was a healthy meeting and conversation. I think that, again, the key word in all of this is respect. Respect this situation, respect the communication end of things moving forward, and then respect the process of what’s going on in this country and this world.”

So what does McDermott think about other Bills players potentially joining Jefferson?

“Well, like I said, it all to me comes down to respect,” McDermott said. “When a player, or anyone in this case, takes an initiative to make a stand for something if it’s ethical, I want them to know that I’m going to support them and we’re going to support them. Again, it gets down to the respect word and we respect what’s going on, we respect, in this case, Cam’s decision, and then the process that’s going on around all of us. We acknowledge it. I think that’s healthy when you do that. That’s part of real life.”

It’s the kind of clear, simple message that others who have spoken on the matter in recent days probably wish, in hindsight, they’d sent, both to those inside the locker room and those on the outside. And maybe the absence of a knee-jerk, finger-pointing reaction from McDermott will help others realize that maybe it makes sense to understand why the protests are happening before condemning those who are conscientiously participating, especially when they are assuming significant risk to their financial well-being.

37 responses to “Sean McDermott on players protesting anthem: “The key word here is respect”

  1. I don’t mind protesting the anthem, but here’s the rub – would the left leaning writers defend a player who kneeled for a position they disagreed with? What if Ben Watson had taken a knee for the pro-life position, for example?

    Ask yourselves…..be consistent.

  2. A grassroots movement to begin boycotting your sponsors has begun. Stating your opinion on a matter is one thing, but shoving it down another person’s throat is way over the top. Moving forward, my next communication on this issue will go to the companies that are paying good money to advertise here to inform them that their products will no longer be bought by the many people who are joining this boycott. I don’t really care if you post this note or not because I know you will read it. And I know your sponsors will definitely read the letters being sent to them.

  3. With everything going on in the world right now with the recent tragedies in Virginia and Spain to name two plus North Korea threatening a nuclear strike, I can’t believe this is still a major subject for discussion.

    Personally…stand….sit….sit….stand….I don’t really care. What I do care about is having my son fly home from a recent visit and praying some ISIS idiot isn’t on board with him!!

  4. MSN.com had an unscientific poll on their portal site yesterday asking if people were offended by Kaepernick’s protest. Nearly Half a million voted as of last night and 70% voted that yes they were offended.

    Just don’t call it divisive.

    and also pretend that disrespecting others during your protest is a smart, reasonable method.

  5. I don’t mind protesting the anthem, but here’s the rub – would the left leaning writers defend a player who kneeled for a position they disagreed with? What if Ben Watson had taken a knee for the pro-life position, for example?

    ___
    i dont mind when they take a kneel to pray or say things like god helped their win even though all religions are silly to me. its still their belief and right to do so.

  6. Yeah but what are you doing about it Mr. Jefferson? Are you donating your time/money to a specific cause or trying to communicate with local law enforcement/patrol rides/ discussion in the local community?

    Pretty sure we already know the answer.

  7. A grassroots movement to begin boycotting your sponsors has begun. Stating your opinion on a matter is one thing, but shoving it down another person’s throat is way over the top. Moving forward, my next communication on this issue will go to the companies that are paying good money to advertise here to inform them that their products will no longer be bought by the many people who are joining this boycott. I don’t really care if you post this note or not because I know you will read it. And I know your sponsors will definitely read the letters being sent to them

    ______
    Definitely boycott FOX News since Fox televises all games.

  8. The left never wants the truth. If they did they would have learned that more black on black homicides occur than whie on black. So much for the lies spewed by the MSM.

  9. Francis Scott Key did not have us in mind when he wrote the 3rd stanza telling slaves to go back to their masters. So tell me what about the anthem should I respect? Let’s not rewrite history.

    I love my country. But what I love most about it is my freedom to have a different view and not be made to feel like I’m disrespecting it. I suppose when we were sitting at lunch counters, boycotting and marching in the streets we should have put a hand over our heart and just say my country right or wrong

  10. The word respect has now become code for rear end kissing by coaches out of fear. Especially the unestablished coaches.

    The foundation of the word respect is tolerance; and these players have zero tolerance for differing opinion. I would like to hear what Jenkins et al have said about respecting those who think they’re going about this all wrong. I want to hear Jenkins et al explain their understanding and equality of people who find their actions willful disrespect as a way to draw attention and that’s where those opposed have the problem. What do you say players, you have understanding and respect for opposing points of view here?

    <>

  11. And if a white player started wearing a blue glove and raising a fist in support of police, would they be called racist, nazi, or white supremacist?
    How long would it take to try to ban him!

  12. Thoughts and prayers out to the families of those officers shot and killed this weekend in the line of duty protecting people, not colors.

  13. I don’t mind protesting the anthem, but here’s the rub – would the left leaning writers defend a player who kneeled for a position they disagreed with? What if Ben Watson had taken a knee for the pro-life position, for example?
    —–

    I’m all about being a free person and true freedom means being able to do whatever you want as long as it’s not illegal or infringes on another’s persons freedom. So while I may not agree with certain positions I would never try and deny someone’s rights to express them. In the face of hatred or evil I’ll meet those rights face on with my own.

  14. agree with fedora59 and support his position…of course, I watch only the first half of the Monday night games, never watch Thursday night, Sunday night, or games played of country…watch the Red Zone on Sundays (no crappy commercials hawking crappy products)…it’s a blessing and I get all the football I need in those seven hours…plus see every scoring play…blessed be the Red Zone…

  15. And if a white player started wearing a blue glove and raising a fist in support of police, would they be called racist, nazi, or white supremacist?
    How long would it take to try to ban him!
    —–
    Do only white players support the police? Do only black players support black lives matter? Do both sides hate each other implicitly? The answer is NO to three. It’s that kind of absolute thinking that gets us to this place

  16. Soooooooooo, what exactly does this do to end police brutality?

    Absolutely nothing!

    These idiots do nothing to promote their cause. Their little, pathetic demonstration accomplishes nothing.

    But I guess that actually going out and promoting their cause, putting money toward it, and speaking against it would take effort.

    Too hard, I guess. Kneeling or sitting for one minute and eighteen seconds requires much less effort……

  17. Exactly how does raising a fist in a Black Power salute, insulting the majority of fans who view that as racist and equate it to a nazi salute, and doing nothing else but that, “help people in need”?

  18. trbowman says:
    August 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm
    I don’t mind protesting the anthem, but here’s the rub – would the left leaning writers defend a player who kneeled for a position they disagreed with? What if Ben Watson had taken a knee for the pro-life position, for example?

    Ask yourselves…..be consistent.
    ———————
    Best post I’ve read on this site in a long time.

  19. I wonder how he feels about the 2 black cops that were shot/killed yesterday?
    ——

    Probably pretty bad since they were human beings that did not deserve to die, like many young black men who have been shot by cops who did not follow procedure. Why do people keep making this a black skin/white skin issue? It’s about police not getting proper training or not following training. There is racial bias in many cases but in others it’s about certain cops having no business carrying a fire arm. Philando Castilles death is a prime example of this. There is no rational explanation you could ever give that supports that man getting shot. The cop who shot him obviously was poorly trained and scared. This should be an issue we all car about, cops, white, black…everyone. People don’t deserve to die for minor infractions or misunderstandings.

  20. So a raised fist, which part of the meaning is it being ok to engage in violence in the name of justice (but who exactly is the decider of what is just and therefore violence is ok???) is meant to portray peace hugs and kisses and utopian society…?

  21. “But I guess that actually going out and promoting their cause, putting money toward it, and speaking against it would take effort.

    Too hard, I guess. Kneeling or sitting for one minute and eighteen seconds requires much less effort……”

    _____________________________________________

    It’s a new phenomenon, and a word becoming part of our modern lexicon: Slacktivism. It’s the people who the most they do, for example, is put a social media post up saying change your profile pic to (fill in the blank) if you support (fill in the blank). And that’s all they do, bc it’s easy and the least effort possible just to say to themselves they did “something”. But it’s a whole lot of nothing.

    We all have these friends on social media, who don’t actually do anything like write a check, build something or actually devote themselves. So they engage in Slacktivism and make a quick effortless post and fold their arms after hitting enter and make an intelligent looking face in their own mind.

    Or make a gesture for one minute and eighteen seconds yet never write a million dollar check to an organization; but easily get in their Ferrari or Bently or Rolls and drive back to their gated community saying to their own self, job well done today, I was really at one with the people.

  22. I don’t respect ANYONE who sits when the National Anthem is played. Standing takes so little effort. After a few minutes you can return to being a snowflake.

  23. You want me to root for somebody that roots against my country?
    ———
    That is so disingenuous I don’t even know where to begin. More like a fellow citizen asking for the same rights you enjoy in this country. How you equate this with al qaeda or ISIS I do not know.

  24. No, your duty as an athlete on your “platform” is to entertain me as as one of the best 1800 football players in the world…otherwise, shut it

  25. I watch sports to forget about about work, politics, some of life’s challenges and for mindless entertainment – I will NOT watch Sports if is political, hateful and annoying.

  26. I have no idea what McDermott said. Sounds like the ramblings of a man with the political correct gun pointed at his head. Toe the leftist line or have wrath of Pravda set down on you. No matter though. McDermott should have had the guts to call it what it is–utter disrespect of those who have died in the line of duty defending this nation. Instead we got cowardice.

  27. I think the biggest misconception with these protests is that athletes have an anti-police/anti-military stance. For one, I don’t know how anybody can think that when a majority of these guys have members of both law enforcement and the military in their families. Hell, Michael Bennett’s dad is a military veteran. 100 percent of these guys recognize that there are good cops out there, but it’s the few who have chosen to abuse their power or have been in situations they’re too scared to handle properly that has led to these protests. This isn’t a new issue in Black America, this is something that’s been going on for many many years and needs to be addressed. I know somebody is going to comment on this post and ask, well what about black on black crime, and here’s my answer. That’s an issue that many of these athletes work to combat through camps, several community initiatives etc, however, the problem right now is excessive force and the murders of unarmed African Americans by the very same people who have been asked to serve and protect these communities. In order for change, one must be made uncomfortable, and this is the perfect way to do so.

  28. jimnaizeeum says:
    I wonder how he feels about the 2 black cops that were shot/killed yesterday?
    ——————————-
    These nitwits like to stereotype people, they’re cops so he most likely thinks they were murdering pigs. That the narrative that the BLM pukes condone.

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