PHILADELPHIA — Breitbart Sports caught up with Myke Tavarres after the Jets-Eagles game Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field, where, despite an initial vow to sit during “The Star Spangled Banner,” he did indeed stand.
“My comments were never meant to disrespect the flag and the people in our service,” Tavarres told Breitbart Sports. “That was never the issue. I just really wanted to talk about the injustice we have in our country. I wanted to use my platform the best I knew I could. That’s it.”
Breitbart sought to ask Tavarres a follow-up question about whether the black-on-black crime epidemic should also be part of Colin Kaepernick’s focus, but the linebacker said he would only respond to football questions after answering our initial query.
After the San Francisco quarterback failed to stand for the national anthem before an August 26 preseason game against Green Bay to protest supposed racism in the United States, many wondered if other players would follow suit.
On August 29, the next shoe dropped. ESPN reported that Philadelphia rookie free agent linebacker Myke Tavarres planned to sit during the anthem before the Eagles’ fourth preseason game against the Jets.
Tavarres admitted that he actually almost sat during the anthem on Saturday, August 27 against the Indianapolis Colts.
“Oh, I thought about it,” Tavarres told ESPN.com. “Believe me, I definitely thought about it. And usually I’m front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that’s since pre-K all the way up. Saturday’s game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn’t feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.
“We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. There’s just a lot going on that people don’t want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we’re looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he’s doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that’s his opinion, he’s entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it.”
But after talking to teammates, such as safety Malcolm Jenkins, and his agent, Tavarres decided against sitting. Perhaps they told him it wasn’t a good career move for a longshot rookie from the University of Incarnate Word. Kaepernick makes $11.9 million in guaranteed money this season whether he stands for the anthem or not. Jeremy Lane signed a four-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks long before sitting during the anthem in Oakland on Thursday night. The San Francisco 49ers earlier this year exercised the fifth-year option on safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in taking a knee Thursday night during “The Star Spangled Banner” in San Diego, for the 2017 season. Tavarres needs to make the team to get paid.
“I want to apologize for the distraction I’ve become to all of Eagle Nation,” Tavarres said in the statement after reversing course. “I feel passionate about racial issues going on in our country and I thought that sitting during the National Anthem would bring more awareness to this issue and encourage more constructive discussion to find solutions, but I feel I only made things worse. I want to make change in this world, but sitting down during the National Anthem just isn’t the best way to do it.”
He tries to hang on to the small chance he possesses of making it, and considering his coach thinks players should stand for the anthem, Tavarres opted to stand down by standing up.
“I can appreciate everybody’s opinions, and I respect everybody’s opinions, but at the same time, I feel that it’s important [to stand],” said Eagles coach Doug Pederson. “It’s obviously out of respect for the men and women of our country that sacrificed, in order for us to coach and play this great game. So, I get it, I understand it, but at the same time, I encourage everybody to stand.”