Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy decided not to kneel or lock arms to defy President Donald Trump during Sunday’s pregame national anthem – instead he opted to stretch.
McCoy was seen running in place and warming up while his teammates stood or kneeled during the Star Spangled Banner ahead of Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
After the game, McCoy said that while he loves America, he ‘can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is acting like a jerk’.
The star running back did not explain why he decided to stretch throughout the anthem performance.
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy was seen running in place and warming up while his teammates stood or kneeled during the national anthem ahead of Sunday’s game against the Broncos
After the game, McCoy said that while he loves America, he ‘can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is acting like a jerk’
The star running back did not explain why he decided to stretch throughout the anthem performance
Following his stretches, it appears as though McCoy decided to join his teammates in kneeling for part of the anthem
He did say, however, that he and his teammates had a long meeting on Saturday about what to do during Sunday’s pregame performance.
‘If a guy wants to take a knee or wants to express himself in any different manner, he has that right,’ he said. ‘The biggest thing is that it’s in a peaceful manner. So that really bothered me.
‘I think us as a group, as a team, we want to display that, ‘Hey, we come together as a team,’ and show to the world that no matter how different each other and person are, we can come together.’
McCoy had previously criticized former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his decision to protest during the anthem.
‘At the end of the day, man, the good thing about this country is you can do what you want,’ McCoy said. ‘The freedom to express yourself. I felt that, hey, if that’s something (Kaepernick) wanted to do, that’s perfectly fine.
Buffalo Bills players kneel in protest of Donald Trump’s remarks ahead of Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at New Era Field
Buffalo Bills players (pictured above) were part of more than 200 who took part in the league-wide protest on Sunday
‘At the time, I thought I wouldn’t do something like that, but then when you hear different remarks and comments from our leader, from our president, of the United States, this is a great country, people strive hard to get over here, they do a lot of different things to get over here for a reason, when your leader, your president makes different comments, it’s hard for me to respect and try to represent something that I don’t believe in.’
McCoy also said he had a big of advice for Trump following Sunday’s NFL-wide protests.
‘Be respectful,’ McCoy said. ‘Us Americans, we’re together. Stop trying to divide us. That’s the biggest thing, man, and it showed today from guys taking knees, from guys touching shoulders show him that we’re all in this together.’
More than 200 players sat or kneeled during the Star Spangled Banner on Sunday, days after President Donald Trump implored team owners to ‘get that son of a b**** off the field’ for protesting during the national anthem.
McCoy had previously criticized former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his decision to protest during the anthem
While his line drew loud applause at his rally in Huntsville, Alabama, the words cut deep into America’s most popular sports league.
Following the speech last week, McCoy tweeted: It’s really sad man … our president is a a*******.’
In addition to attacks on NFL players, Trump also rescinded a White House invitation for basketball player Stephen Curry, a star player for NBA champions Golden State Warriors.
Curry was backed by NBA star LeBron James, who called the president a ‘bum’ in a tweet backing his fellow player.
On Twitter on Sunday night, Trump continued to press his case against politically charged athletes, saying: ‘sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!’
Trump remains confident that his supporters are strongly behind his attacks on kneeling players, a practice which started by a handful of players protesting against a number of issues, including police brutality against black people.