Colts linebacker and team captain Darius Leonard has confirmed that the entire team will make what he calls a “bold statement” during the national anthem on Sunday, as the NFL launches its first full weekend of action.
“We decided we’re going to make a bold statement, and we’re going to show unity as a team,” Leonard said, according to Stephen Holder of TheAthletic.com.
Colts LB Darius Leonard re: Sunday's national anthem: "We decided we're going to make a bold statement and we're going to show unity as a team."
Did not disclose exactly what the plans are.
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) September 10, 2020
The Colts have had mixed reactions to protests during the anthem among the players. In the past, the Colts linked arms while at other times, individual players have taken a knee during the anthem.
In October of 2017, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Colts game after the anthem concluded when some of the players protested against the country.
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said immediately after he left that game.
The kneeling enraged an Indiana state assemblyman who proposed a bill to force the Colts and other teams to refund ticket costs to fans upset by the constant displays of anti-Americanism.
Indiana Republican Rep. Milo Smith said the impetus for his bill came when he witnessed the Colts protest at a game in September of 2017. As Smith described it, it was something that “didn’t sit right with me.”
“To me, when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country,” Smith added. “Our government isn’t perfect, but it’s still the best country in the world, and I think we need to be respectful of it.”
Thus far, though, unlike the NBA, it appears that the 32 NFL teams intend to play on despite being urged to boycott the league over George Floyd’s death while in police custody.
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