J.J. Watt: Kneeling for the anthem isn't disrespecting the flag or military
J.J. Watt said that kneeling for the United States national anthem "did not disregard the flag or our military" when he shot back at a Twitter user who suggested he would not be among the Houston Texans players who protested.
The idea of kneeling for The Star-Spangled Banner before the NFL games to protest police brutality and racial injustice was taken up again after George Floyd's death in police custody on March 25.
When former quarterback Colin Kaepernick of San Francisco 49ers knelt four years ago, he was heavily criticized by US President Donald Trump, but the NFL recently apologized for not listening to its players and encouraged them to "comment and to protest peacefully ".
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, was criticized for claiming that those who had knees "disregarded the flag", although he later apologized for these comments, a turnaround that Trump insisted that he was wrong.
The regular 2020 NFL season is slated to start in September, but Texan's head coach Bill O'Brien has announced that he will kneel with his players.
"Yes, I'm going to take a knee," he told the Houston Chronicle.
"I'm all for it. The players have a right to protest, a right to be heard and a right to be who they are.
"They are not kneeling because they are against the flag. They are kneeling because they have not been treated equally in this country for over 400 years."
A Twitter user replied to this story on the social media channel by saying, "I'm pretty sure @JJWatt won't get down on my knees ..." along with three American flag emojis.
However, Watt struck back from his own account, saying that kneeling for the anthem had nothing to do with the US flag or the country's military.
Quoting his mention again, he said, "A) Don't speak for me. B) If you still think it's about disregarding the flag or our military, you obviously haven't been listening."
The new regular NFL season begins on September 10 with the Texans against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Houston has won AFC South in each of the previous two campaigns, but was beaten by the Chiefs in the playoffs last year.
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