PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan believes
standing for the national anthem is a way for NFL players
and coaches to show respect and give thanks to members of
the armed forces.
got to look at the gifts that we have, the opportunity
that we have to play a great game is through the men and
women that serve our country," Ryan said before
practice on Sunday. "And I think that's an
opportunity right there just to show respect."
asked his opinion a day after San Francisco 49ers
quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he is refusing to stand
for the anthem because he believes the United States
oppresses African Americans and other minorities.
specifically mentioning Kaepernick, Ryan said he can
appreciate how some players have personal or religious
beliefs that lead them to not stand for the anthem.
time when I talk to our team about that, if there's
personal beliefs or whatever that keeps you from doing it,
then I understand," he said.
Ryan added, he encourages his players to stand for the
anthem, and to do so as a team in a straight line along
kind of our way of giving thanks," Ryan said.
"It's an important thing for me."
wide receiver Victor Cruz said after his team's exhibition
victory against the Jets on Saturday night that the
American flag deserves respect — no matter the
circumstances in the U.S. or beyond.
flag is the flag," Cruz said. "Regardless of how
you feel about things that are going on in America today,
and the things that are going on across the world with gun
violence and things of that nature, you've got to respect
the flag, and you've got to stand up with your teammates.
It's bigger than just you, in my opinion. I think you go
up there, you're with a team, and you go and you know you
pledge your allegiance to the flag and sing the national
anthem with your team, and then you go about your
business, whatever your beliefs are.
is his own man, he decided to sit down and that is his
prerogative, but on a personal standpoint, I think you
have to stand up there with your team and understand and
it's this game and what's going on around this country is
bigger than just you."
directly addressing Kaepernick, Oakland Raiders coach Jack
Del Rio posted on Twitter his appreciation for the armed
Appreciate the sacrifices of the brave who have fought for
our freedom. We R Free to choose. I choose to (heart the
American flag icons)."