A Tampa Bay sports writer called it a “shame” anyone would criticize Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for his anti-American protest against the country and President Elect Donald Trump during Sunday’s game.
But even as he jumped to the support of Mike Evans exercise of freedom speech, this same writer constantly attacked ESPN sportscaster Curt Schilling for exercising the same right.
During Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, Evans decided to use the playing of the national anthem to make a political statement that Trump is a “joke” and the country is filled with racists.
Unlike other NFL players who have insisted their national anthem grandstanding is a response to police violence, Evans directly said he was protesting Donald Trump.
“I don’t want to, you know, disrespect the veterans or anything,” Evans explained after the game. “The men and women who serve this country, I’m forever indebted to them. But the things that’s been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that. When Ashton Kutcher comes out and says we’ve been punked, then I’ll stand again. But I won’t stand anymore.”
The player added, “I said this a long time ago. When [Trump] ran, I thought it was a joke, and the joke continues. I’m not a political person that much, but I got common sense. And I know when something’s not right.”
Of course, Evans immediately received a lot of negative feedback and it is that criticism that Tampa Bay Times sports writer Tom Jones addressed in his November 13 column.
Aside from his personal agreement with the contentions that Trump is a “joke” and the country is full of racists, the columnist based his praise for Evans on the player’s First Amendment rights.
“Evans should be respected for exercising his First Amendment rights. No one should have an issue with that, even if they disagree with his specific stance,” Jones wrote.
The columnist added, “But it’s critical that we let everyone express themselves as long as it’s done in a peaceful way. That means tolerating Evans not standing during the anthem.”
But this is the same Tom Jones, columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, who repeatedly attacked ESPN commentator Curt Schilling, eventually fired for speaking his mind on social media.
In April Jones slammed Schilling. In his piece, “3 things that popped into Tom Jones’ head,” Jones essentially said that Schilling is a big mouth who should be shut up.
His point number one of his “3 things” read, “ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling, in talking about Rays pitcher Chris Archer, used a Telestrator to circle Archer’s hair and said, ‘Everything but this right here, big league.’ I’d put a photo of Schilling on screen, circle his mouth and say, ‘Everything but this right here, big league.'”
In another piece published the previous month, Jones urged ESPN to fire Schilling for exercising his First Amendment rights. “ESPN should can him and then he can go on making whatever political views he wants,” Jones wrote.
So, despite his constant calls for ESPN to fire Curt Schilling for speaking his political views, Jones suddenly decided that he wants us all to be tolerant of those political views and that Evans should be allowed to do and say whatever he wants without consequences.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.