Christian Fauria explains why he would kneel if he had a game tomorrow

June 08, 2020 - 5:45 pm

The debate over kneeling during the national anthem is back thanks to a combination of the murder of George Floyd, nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Drew Brees' recent comments and subsequent apology, Roger Goodell's admission that the NFL made a mistake by not listening to players earlier, and President Donald Trump's comments on all of the above.

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Part of that conversation is whether players who otherwise wouldn't kneel during the anthem actually might given recent events. Christian Fauria and Lou Merloni both weighed in on the topic on OMF Monday, with Fauria explaining why, if he had a game tomorrow, he would kneel despite it not being something he would usually even consider. (Listen to the full segment here.)

"As of right now, yes I would," Fauria said. "Right now I would say the best thing I can do is support my teammates, my black teammates. As emotional as they are and as hurt as they are, I think the best thing for me to do as their teammate, under these circumstances, is to support them and not say a word. Moving forward, I would need to have a conversation with them, explaining to them my point of view and what's important to me. Right now it's just a powderkeg.

"...If there's a game tomorrow, and there's no time for some deep-hearted conversation, what are you doing? Are you standing up and everyone just make up your interpretation of what you're doing and why? To me, that's the problem. You cannot be rogue in this situation. My thing is, if it happened today, I'm 100 percent kneeling. I've seen what's gone on in the streets. I've seen the protests. Maybe I don't know as much as I think I do. I'll be open-minded to it, 'OK, let me hear you. In the meantime, I'm going to support you.' Even though it's not what I believe, I'm going to do what's best for the team, what's best for my teammate who is also my friend."

Fauria said that come the fall, when NFL games will actually next be played, he may feel differently based on conversations he would be having with his teammates between now and then.

"Now, in the fall? For me, it's a different conversation," he said. "I have not had time to express my beliefs. You have also not had an opportunity to hear my beliefs. You're the one that's hurting. You're the one that's in pain. So I'm going to sacrifice my own feelings and beliefs for the betterment of all in the meantime."

Merloni, on the other hand, said he thinks those conversations would be happening right now and that he would explain to his teammates that he supports their cause, but that he would still stand for the anthem.

"I just think you have that conversation even if it was today," Merloni said. "Like right now you're in the locker room and you're having conversations and you're talking to guys. If you express to your teammates how you support them in their cause, but hopefully you can respect how I feel about the flag and what it means to me. I understand what's going on in the world right now, in this country, and if people have a problem with it afterwards, hopefully you're able to get your point across to the media afterwards and explain why in a respectful way."

Related: President Donald Trump calls out NFL, Roger Goodell regarding national anthem debate