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Bill Belichick on DHK when asked about Donald Trump's NFL remarks: 'I am really going to stick to my job and coaching the team'

Ryan Hannable
September 25, 2017 - 5:09 pm

Prior to Sunday's game against the Texans, 16 members of the Patriots knelt during the national anthem following Donald Trump's comments about the NFL Friday night. It was the first such protest by the team, as last season Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett raised their fists after the anthem in Week 1.

On Monday's Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe show, Bill Belichick was asked for his reaction to what his team did.

“Well, I think I made a statement about that today," he said. "I’ll just leave it at that.”

Belichick was then asked directly for his thoughts on Trump's comments about the league.

“Yeah, I am really going to stick to my job and coaching the team," he said. "That is where my focus is. I’m not going to get into religion, politics, [etc.].”

As for if the protests will continue each week, the coach didn't want to go there, either.

“Well, as I said, I think I really covered most of that in the statement that  I made," he said. "We’ll proceed in the best manner we can going forward.”

The coach did go in-depth on what it is like coaching over 53 players who don't share the same beliefs, and reflected back to when he was a special teams coach in the late 70s.

“Well, I think I saw pretty quickly, as I think we all do, professional football brings a very diverse group of people together, more so than I would say a lot of other sports," Belichick said. "Sports like hockey and baseball are more regional, or northern in hockey and I wouldn't say a little more southern, but certainly through the minor league system in baseball. The NBA, they have their clientele. The NFL, you have big guys, you have little guys, guys from all different types of schools, all different backgrounds, urban, rural, obviously all different religions, economic and socioeconomic backgrounds and so forth. It’s about as diverse of a group as you can get, again certainly relative to other major sports. You couple that with age and experience, there’s a lot of different combinations.

"As a special teams coach early in my career, which I had a lot of background in that for four years, you literally deal with every player on the team. If you just coach one group of players like the quarterbacks, or the offensive line, or the DBs, there’s a lot in common sometimes in those groups, but when you coach the entire team as a head coach does, or the special teams coach does, you very quickly see the diversity in all those things. Personalities that are sometimes more common with certain positions than others. You get it all and you understand there’s a lot of differences.

"As a coach, it’s interesting, sometimes challenging, but it’s interesting. It certainly gives you a perspective on all the different players that are on your team that sometimes when you are coaching just one position you have five or six guys, whatever it is, you see it, but in a lesser way than you would when you work with the entire football team.”

Back when Belichick first came into the league, it could be said the team wouldn't talk about certain things like religion, etc. That isn't the case today.

“Well, look, the world has changed a lot since 1975. The world has changed a lot since 2015," he said. "I think you always have to adjust. Each team is different, even if it is the same team. There are new players and each team goes through new circumstances every year, some in their control, some out of their control. Those experiences define that particular team. Each one is unique. You have to be flexible. You have to sometimes read the waters and the way you’ve done it in the past and the way you’ve done it somewhere else, maybe that isn’t the right thing to do in this new situation because something is a little bit different.

"Like I said, maybe the circumstances are different or maybe your team is different, or maybe you are in a different environment for some reason. There’s always differences. There’s always things that make it unique and challenging. That is interesting too.”

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