Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Devin McCourty explains why many Patriots knelt during national anthem

Ryan Hannable
September 24, 2017 - 5:42 pm

FOXBORO -- Before the Patriots-Texans game on Sunday, many Patriots players knelt during the national anthem following President Trump's comments on Friday night.

Devin McCourty, who has been outspoken about the president in the past, explained the decision following the game. He also wore a shirt which read: "No Place for Racism, Fascism, Sexism, Hate."

"First, instead of sitting here answering a ton of questions back and forth about pregame, taking away from the great effort of the team, I’m just going to say how I feel, how a lot of guys felt," McCourty said. "We were obviously very conflicted. We knew our message would be perceived by a lot of people in a way that wasn’t what we were trying to put out. A lot of guys felt, I mean, all over the place about the comments by the President Friday night. As a leader on the team, a lot of guys came to me and they didn’t know what to do. They just were kind of angry.

"It was good Saturday. We all kind of talked as a group of releasing that anger and not being angry. We were in chapel and a lot of guys talked about that in our faith, God is first. We wanted to come together. First and foremost, we hate that people are going to see it as that we don’t respect the military and the men and women that are way braver than us that go and put their life on the line every day for us to have the right to play football, and we know people are going to see it that way. Guys have family members, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters that serve, and they were really conflicted about it. But, we just wanted to send a message of unity and being together and not standing for the disrespect and different ways guys felt.

"[There were> so many different things going through a lot of guys heads, and it was unique to see guys kind of come together and bond together as a group before the game and do that. But, I think all of us want a message that goes out of unity, being together, obviously as a team, and also as a fraternity of NFL players. Guys talk throughout the league about that, and it was great to be a part of a lot of guys trying to do the right thing. Obviously, it won’t be seen as the right thing to everybody, but I think in our hearts, what we focus on the most was that we were trying to do the right thing today.

"I’m proud of our guys and I’m proud of the group and the guys I get to go out there and play football with. They’re all great guys. They’re better people than they are football players."

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