Akiem Hicks: I stood for the anthem because I feared being blackballed

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Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks says many more NFL players would have joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem, but they worried about losing their jobs.

Hicks said he believes the majority of players who stood for the anthem were thinking that if they didn’t, it would end their careers. And he was one of them.

“At that time when Kaepernick was taking a knee, I had the same thought that 85, 90% of the league thought at that moment: ‘If I get down on one knee in front of this stadium, I am fired,’” Hicks said, via the Chicago Tribune. “’My job, my career, my life is over. I will be blackballed.’ And then to come out on the other end and watch it actually happen to Kaepernick, it just tells me my feelings were real. It was the reality, and hopefully it won’t be going forward.”

After NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pledged on Friday to support players’ protests, that mindset among players may change. As it should.

70 responses to “Akiem Hicks: I stood for the anthem because I feared being blackballed

  1. People shouldn’t have to feel oppressed, and more importantly people should not be oppressed. Period.

  2. The national anthem should not be played at sporting events, there’s no need for it

  3. I think you should pick another way to protest and get your message across, and I think you should stand for that flag, because that flag stands for you and your right to protest. People wanna walk all over, or in this case kneel all over the very symbol that represents their rights in the first place, and that is misplaced in my humble opinion, and when you trample on the flag you are trampling on the people who sacrificed their lives for your rights. So have the courage to stand for the flag, because there are people six feet under who paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me

  4. What happens when the president is telling NFL team owners to fire peaceful protesters.

    Sad. Disturbing really.

  5. How does kneeling during the National Anthem actually help your cause?
    It seems to drive an even deeper wedge between people….
    I know I don’t like politics & social movement issues injected into my life when all I want to do is be entertained & enjoy a sport of gladiators battling it out…..I spent my money to enjoy my time in THAT ARENA & for just a little while EXCAPE any other narratives certain others feel the need to support that disrupt my expectations of what I paid to enjoy…
    Please stand for our national anthem…..I ALWAYS WILL

  6. 3percenter4life says:
    June 6, 2020 at 7:09 am
    I think you should pick another way to protest and get your message across, and I think you should stand for that flag, because that flag stands for you and your right to protest. People wanna walk all over, or in this case kneel all over the very symbol that represents their rights in the first place, and that is misplaced in my humble opinion, and when you trample on the flag you are trampling on the people who sacrificed their lives for your rights. So have the courage to stand for the flag, because there are people six feet under who paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me
    ____________________________________________________
    “…you should stand fo that flag, because that flag stands for you and your right to protest”

    How misguided is this comment? “don’t kneel for the flag because the flag gives you the right to kneel in the first place!” Yikes. If the flag affords you the right to protest, then it could be said that it would be disrespectful to the flag NOT to protest it.

  7. Why do we even play the Anthem at sporting events? It’s not a patriotic happening. It’s not a military function.

  8. “What happens when the president is telling NFL team owners to fire peaceful protesters.

    Sad. Disturbing really.”

    Especially since that same man is a 5 time draft dodging coward who loathes the military and is grotesquely jealous of the accolades they receive that he never will.

  9. Well Shannon Sharpe said Drew should just retire for his views on the flag ,and that Skip just sits their and takes it all day !

  10. According to many haters, there is no such thing as a blacklist. The only reason Kap is still unemployed is because he is the absolute worst quarterback who ever played, worse than Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell.

  11. Now people will kneel for the anthem for the fear of being blackballed. Is that an improvement?

  12. @Cub Scout Leader Richard Flash – I don’t get not playing the national anthem at sporting events. If we didn’t how many times would the younger generation honor it?

    They wouldn’t. Ever chance they get they crap on our countries name. They think it’s bad. I WOULD LOVE for them to put their money where their mouth is! Go ahead and live somewhere else and see just how good you have it here in the United States Of America!

    Honestly, there are a number of adults who do that same. People to stop watching TV and realize what we have here!

  13. One more thing….If these players, on their high horses, think they can make that money in any other country playing this game tell them to go right ahead!!!!

  14. The NFL will get a real taste of reality when it caters to its employees. Bye bye

  15. Let’s keep in mind that it’s only been 10 years since the NFL asked players to stand for the flag. A little over a decade ago many players weren’t even on the field for the flag.

    What changed? The government threw millions of dollars at the NFL to promote the military with all the special events, and military days that are now common.

    The outrage is fake for the people who spent 90 percent of their lives watching sports and not caring if players were on the field saluting the flag.

  16. It’s unfortunate any of the conversation needs to be spent on HOW something is being protested rather than WHY it is being protested.

    I don’t believe the players kneeling are trying to be disrespectful to veterans or the flag, but there’s a sizeable portion fans that do. As long as that’s the case, the conversation is going to be sidetracked. So how do you alleviate that? Well, you either wait until those naysayers opinions change organically, or you could just find a different means of getting your message of protest across to EVERYONE. I don’t see either happening any time soon, unfortunately.

  17. redlikethepig says:

    Why do we even play the Anthem at sporting events? It’s not a patriotic happening. It’s not a military function.
    ===================================================

    A national anthem is a song representing national identity and patriotism. Look it up in the dictionary, patriotism is specified. It’s not a military function.

  18. 3percenter4life says:
    June 6, 2020 at 7:09 am
    I think you should pick another way to protest and get your message across, and I think you should stand for that flag, because that flag stands for you and your right to protest. People wanna walk all over, or in this case kneel all over the very symbol that represents their rights in the first place, and that is misplaced in my humble opinion, and when you trample on the flag you are trampling on the people who sacrificed their lives for your rights. So have the courage to stand for the flag, because there are people six feet under who paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me
    ____________________________________________________
    “…you should stand fo that flag, because that flag stands for you and your right to protest”

    How misguided is this comment? “don’t kneel for the flag because the flag gives you the right to kneel in the first place!” Yikes. If the flag affords you the right to protest, then it could be said that it would be disrespectful to the flag NOT to protest it.
    ——
    I remember when I was young in civics class watching a US propaganda film about Communist countries and how they forced their citizens to be patriotic else face consequences. Seeung rows of people standing and singing or reciting some patriotic phrase in their language and having the teacher say we’re lucky to live here in the United States where we have freedoms etc. A couple of months later we had a new student join the class. When it was time to say the pledge like we did every morning that new student refused. I can’t remember if he said religous reasons or was protesting something or whatever but he refused and was suspeneded for it. In school suspension.
    That’s when I knew at that young of an age this freedom nonsense they kept feeding us the US represents was bs. I couldn’t understand how sitting for the pledge would be punished as severely as other students who got into fights or cheated in class.
    I see it’s even worse as an adult.

  19. Personally I don’t really care who if you want to protest. Do it on your own time. When I turn on the tv to watch football, I don’t want to see political statements, protests or whatever you want to call it. I want to see grown men bash eachothers brains in for 3 hours on Sundays with an occasional monday or thursday. If I want to see about politics I will watch the Fox News Channel.

  20. I would prefer players stand for the anthem and protest in some other way. Otherwise, it would be best if the anthem was a.) played before they came out or b.) not played at all. Despite the solidarity within the league for protests at this time, polling shows such a protest at the game would be very divisive and unpopular.

    Sports had always been great at uniting people. Now, it is being used to divide people. Folks complain that the president divides people, but will celebrate when the players do the same thing? If you say it’s the player’s right or that change requires sacrifice, then fine, but the same can be said about the people you DON’T agree with.

  21. eagleswin says:
    June 6, 2020 at 8:57 am
    Let’s keep in mind that it’s only been 10 years since the NFL asked players to stand for the flag. A little over a decade ago many players weren’t even on the field for the flag.
    ———————–
    That’s a false story that’s been spread since this whole thing started with Kaepernick. Go find stories and video of how Bud Grant would make his players practice standing proudly for the anthem way back in the 60’s and 70’s.

  22. So are we still acting like the NFL doesnt get paid to perform the national anthem, or are we going to just keep ignoring it?

  23. Every time you read the word “ politics “, replace it with the word “ power “ and life will start making much more sense.
    Very few people have actual power, and the ones that do won’t give it up. Ever.

  24. If you feared being black balled. Then you really did not care about the cause the much.

  25. When are people going to learn that all the kneeling and public outbursts, peaceful or not are not going to fix this issue. Millions of dollars donated isn’t going to do it either. It all starts and ends with DO YOUR JOB !!! If police departments have a reliable ethics department that did its job we wouldn’t have violent cops on the payroll !!! Maybe ????
    Also what good has come out of all this public protesting ?? All I see is more death and pain and plenty of destruction and a lot of selfies.
    How many more black lives taken and ruined from all these “peaceful protests” . If you don’t believe the message clear enough yet keep on keeping on. America has plenty more people and cities to tear up

  26. That’s why the NFLPA is the weakest union in galactic history. They fail to realize that their strength is in their unity. When one takes a stand that 86 percent believes in then they all must take a stand. United is how you affect change. Divided as how you’re controlled and manipulated.
    The Cowboys were scared because they thought it would hurt their brand and fan base. Dak talking about “we’re Cowboys, we stand for the flag”. I live in Dallas and Cowboy fans come from Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas to watch the Cowboys play. Nothing will deter that fan base from being Cowboy fans and in 2020 most of the fan base appears to be Hispanic. Get with the times. This isn’t the 80’s.
    Besides, in 2020 the 49errs are America’s team. They kneeled for the flag and America still loves them.

  27. So now people will kneel for fear of losing their jobs. But that’s ok, right Hicks?

  28. Theres no law against kneeling. Everyone has a different experience but that doesn’t mean people don’t respect the country, they just want equality and fairness. THEY WANT A UNITED STATES. You will criticize black men for kneeling because their millionaires because you see disrespect but what about the things they go through to get the point? Most people have no idea of what it feels like to be discriminated against. Most live in a bubble and are afraid to deal with and issues at hand unless it effects them personally which is so hypocritical. I love this country but people need to understand what makes it great. I believe that everyone has a right to have an opinion. No one is perfect. The struggles of the black race are real. I’ve watch as all methods have been tried. I don’t mind the kneeling because when you kneel to anything in life, you are submitting yourself to it. We are in different times where things are going to change. We are in the year 2020 and people need to understand that. You can’t have change if you stay in the past forever. Yes they’re racist people and you can never get away from that but you can start to show that it won’t be tolerated. We all have to grow up and understand right from wrong. There’s no entertainment if our fellow Americans choose not to play sports at all, so that will make your money worthless. If you can’t handle real life, don’t look at sports because it’s the show of unity.

  29. Why don’t these players take a knee outside of football and the playing of the National Anthem?

  30. “’My job, my career, my life is over. I will be blackballed.’ And then to come out on the other end and watch it actually happen to Kaepernick, it just tells me my feelings were real. It was the reality, and hopefully it won’t be going forward.”
    ——————————————
    So the players believe they have the right to protest, which they do, but that the owners don’t have the right to protest? They have the right to not be arrested for protesting, but the individual owners also have the right to not hire someone who is going to cast what many of their paying customers think is a negative light on the owner’s business. I believe the team owner has the right to tell the players that they can stay in the locker room or be on the field for the anthem, but if they are on the field they must stand.

  31. WOW you say this now as you were silent before, yet Brees says his piece and he has been blackballed by the comments of players in this league. The crutch is always Kaepernick

  32. Remove the National Anthem from NFL games, it has no place in football and just enables the nuts on both sides of the fence to cause controversy.

  33. Am I the only one who really wouldn’t care if sports never started up again? I know I say that as I post to a sports site but I’ve honestly enjoyed not hearing about sports.

  34. I can see it already. Those who choose not to kneel will be filmed front and center for all to see and branded as racists. Things changed pretty quickly. NFL would be wise to address this in some way before the season. Best maybe to skip the anthem all together or play it before players come out and maybe ask for a moment of silence……no easy way out NFL you painted yourself in this corner….

  35. The reason players choose to kneel during the national anthem is so conversational like this very one take place…

    The reason people want the national anthem to stop being played suddenly is to ignore the very issues that need to be corrected in the first place…

    At some point, you have to stop ignoring the issue… You can’t continue to change everything else other than the issue, practice willful ignorance and still consider yourself a racially tolerant human being.

  36. Call me what you will. It’s wrong to disrespect the flag and national anthem. Protest at city hall, peacefully please, but not during the anthem. That’s the time to respect every United States service person who has given their life for this country.

  37. Well Akiem and the rest of the players, if you take away the anthem before games it’s a non issue. Then you might have to go out and actually organize a rally or pay for an ad in a national paper to express your viewpoint. Oh wait, that costs time and money. Are you will willing to do that?

  38. These punks are a lost cause. I don’t miss baseball or basketball, or hockey. Won’t miss Football.

  39. Kneeling in front of the flag is just plain wrong. There are other ways to get your point a cross with out kneeling. It does nothing.

  40. This is what I hated and still hate about the anthem protest: it’s all or nothing.

    Before, if you kneeled it meant you hate the flag and America. Now it will bee if you don’t kneel then you support racism.

  41. @19dead2 – That’s actually an idea I would get behind. This way pro athletes can put the work and money into protesting!!!!

  42. I’m against it. It’s just lazy. Any lazy bum can kneel on the ground. Why don’t you do something to actually help your communities instead of participating in a “hey look at me” farce that accomplishes absolutely nothing.

  43. Just tell me what the majority thinks at any point in time. You want me to stand? I’ll stand. You want me to kneel? I’ll kneel. Just please leave me and my paychecks alone.

  44. Cry me a river. We all have issues. If yours are this bad….then why the hell am I paying good money to watch you?

  45. Just quit playing the national anthem before games. Let those NFL players express their opinions on their own time.

  46. 2009: NFL players began standing on the field for the national anthem before the start of primetime games. Before this, players would stay in their locker rooms except during the Super Bowl and after 9/11.

  47. That’s a false story that’s been spread since this whole thing started with Kaepernick. Go find stories and video of how Bud Grant would make his players practice standing proudly for the anthem way back in the 60’s and 70’s.

    2009: NFL players began standing on the field for the national anthem before the start of primetime games. Before this, players would stay in their locker rooms except during the Super Bowl and after 9/11.

  48. Perfect solution: put up a still picture or a video of flag waving in the breeze over a pre-recorded national anthem, then play ball.

  49. WOW all the people that are stupid enough to believe Kaep was blackballed, he wasn’t.
    His final two seasons with the 9er’s as the starting QB he went 2-6 and 1-10, that’s not going to get any QB another job, especially as a starter!

  50. I don’t care if you take a sh*t during the anthem, just play your sport and shut up.

  51. Play the anthem before the players take the field (like they used to do) and then they can stand, sit, lie down or whatever they need to do. This is why people served in the military, to allow others to express their opinions and have their own beliefs. This isn’t another country where you could get tossed in Jail, or worse.

  52. Akiem Hicks: I stood for the anthem because I feared being blackballed
    ___________________________________

    BTW there were dozens of players that knelt and Kaep was the only one who didn’t play after going 1-10 his final season with the 9er’s and you think it was because he knelt, you’re overlooking the obvious! Had he went 10-1 or even 7-4 I’d have bet my last dollar he’d have had plenty of offers, the NFL is the one place that gives talented players more chances than anywhere else you could work on this planet. I.E. Pacman Jones!

  53. It amazes me that you all keep saying the flag.. Let me ask all of you question? What is more important a person’s life which you have to admit that is what this protest about or the lie that this disrepect the flag. You disrespect the Flag when you do not speak up for your fellow American when they get discriminated against. You disrespect the flag when you never take the time to see what black people which the NFL is 75% Black are protesting police brutality. You saw a man DIE and you still will say that protest is not appropriate during that time. Is it appropriate for Ahmaud Aubery to me hunted and killed? Is it appropriate for George Floyd to be lynched in broad daylight with a person who had no sense of humanity. Many of you on this forum is the reason why we protest because you are more concerned about a fake narrative that black peoples lives

  54. Skewed statistics are enough to question everything about any movement. Politics are more important than real issues these days. Politics should never be used to pit the people of this nation against each other. No one is against fairness. No one believes racism is OK. Why are labels being placed on people? Is that not what this argument is all about? People protesting being labeled, basically. Then in doing so, in turn labeling others? Makes absolutely no sense unless politics is a motivation.

  55. Trump making the flag his signature issue,because he knows many people can be controlled by symbols and feelings. Patriotism is a dangerous drug for many. It can be used to control the population, making them more pliable for future, more intrusive demands.

  56. And to that nonsense Bsanders, I’ll just say “Get woke go broke”. People in general are intelligent, need a break from unimportant politics/daily grind of life, and the NFL will find out this coming season that nobody likes being preached to or force fed garbage they don’t want to hear or believe. Go ahead, you’ll see how quickly they walk back their fake support when the cash stops coming in.

  57. Ye the united States allows most of its flags to be made in Communist countries where the workers spit on each one or worse.

  58. Get rid of the anthem, and especially those never-ending military recruitment drives. We’ve lost enough sons and daughters while imposing the wills of the moneyed elite.

  59. Who is allowed to protest at work? The players are at work. If I protested, anything, while on the clock I would have a good chance of losing my job.

  60. Who is allowed to protest at work? The players are at work. If I protested, anything, while on the clock I would have a good chance of losing my job.

    They get paid for what they do when the ball is snapped.

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