New York Jets Coach Todd Bowles Says It’s The Players’ ‘Individual Right’ To Protest
If any players on the New York Jets decide they want to kneel in protest of the national anthem this season, head coach Todd Bowles will not be the one to stand in the way of them doing so.
At this moment, no current Jets player on the roster has expressed outwardly that they would be kneeling during ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” but Bowles made it crystal clear on Wednesday that it’s their god given right to do so if they choose t0.
”It’s their individual right,” the coach said after practice Wednesday. ”We don’t have a rulebook on what’s right to protest and not protest. You don’t know those things until the course of time, whether it’s sitting for the anthem, whether it’s raising your fist, whether it’s speaking out, whether it’s the Walk to Washington, who is to say whose protest is good or bad?”
Former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick made kneeling during the anthem popular last year. More and more athletes from different sports have since decided to take part in the protest, infuriating a large portion of the country who feel they are disrespecting the people who fought for this country.
Where Kaepernick left off, Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett and Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch have both picked up the torch, as they were spotted last weekend sitting during the anthem prior to their respective preseason games.
”As a football team, politics and people are human – they’re part of it – so you can’t say what’s good or bad,” Bowles said. ”I’m sure mostly everybody – I know I’m against racism, segregation and all that other stuff – but how do we come to an answer? I don’t have that answer. How do we come to a common ground? I don’t have that answer.
”It’s a hell of a debate and a hell of a topic. It needs to stop. I don’t have the answers to that, but who is to say whose protest is good or bad? That’s just the way they feel and that’s their right to express it.”
Bowles stated he and the team have always had discussions on current events, but have yet to speak about the drama that took place in Charlottesville last week, where one person was killed and many others were injured.
”It’s more than football with us,” Bowles said. ”We talk about a lot of things. It’s a different topic, everybody has their own feelings about it. You can’t sway anybody one way or the other. We’re all grown men here, so that’s how people feel. That has nothing to do with what they do in practice and what they do on the field, but separately off the field, they are going to feel the way they feel.”