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Vernon, Harrison, Collins Kneel During National Anthem

Vernon: “I just felt it was a necessary thing to do”

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In response to President Donald’s Trump’s comments recently about NFL players, three New York Giants knelt during the playing of the National Anthem on Sunday. Oliver Vernon, Damon Harrison and Landon Collins all took a knee.

Remaining Giants players locked arms during the playing of the anthem. Eagles players did the same.

“I had a lot of patience. I had a lot of patience from last year with what was going on,” Vernon said after the game. “I respect this nation, this country. I’m a first-generation American, my parents aren’t from this country. All these remarks just built up. Last night just hearing that just struck a chord.”

Vernon, who mentioned that his father is a retired law enforcement officer, had much more to say on the subject:

“What does it say as far at the First Amendment when you can show you feel non-violently when you have a platform to do it. No matter how much money you make, why not do it? Why not stand down with your brothers and represent something that’s bigger than the game of football.

“Something that we have in our nation that’s been going on a long time and I just felt it was a necessary thing to do.

“What’s fair is fair. If you can protest something that’s non-violent and make a stand for something what’s wrong with that?”

Here is Landon Collins’ take on kneeling:

“We love our country to death. We’d die for it, too if we could. At the same time we respect each other, we have a family over here and we’re going to fight for each other.”

Coach Ben McAdoo expressed no issue with the way his players conducted themselves during the National Anthem, and took a shot at President Trump:

“It seems like the message we’re getting from the White House is they’re trying to create division, whether it’s within the team or the league, whatever the case may be,” McAdoo said. “We practice empathy here. I believe in it. I’m not sure how much the President can empathize with our players and the way that they grew up.

“I think empathy is the key message here. Choose understanding over judgment.”

Trump had called on owners to fire players who protested the anthem. Mara and Tisch were among many NFL owners who responded to Trump.

This is, of course, venturing into political territory. Please keep the comments civil. If you can’t, don’t comment.

Here is a statement from the Giants: