ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has tempered his criticism of NFL players protesting during the national anthem in a statement sent to The Associated Press.
Though he doesn’t believe the anthem is the appropriate forum, Kelly says he agrees with the reason players have chosen to hold peaceful protests. He is also thankful to live in a nation where people can express themselves freely.
Kelly issued the statement by text to clarify remarks he made on his weekly show on Buffalo’s WGRF-Radio that drew criticism from Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes.
Hughes accused Kelly of attempting to divide the team by publicly criticizing running back LeSean McCoy for sitting and stretching on the field during a portion of the Star Spangled Banner performed before Buffalo’s 26-16 win over Denver on Sunday.
Calling the comments “not cool” and “very unacceptable,” Hughes says Kelly should have approached the team with his concerns and shouldn’t have been standing alongside the Bills on the field during the anthem if he had issues with the protest.
Kelly told The AP he exchanged texts with McCoy, and has also had a constructive conversation with Hughes.
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