Mike Evans refusal to stand for the national anthem on Sunday prior to the Bears game created a national stir and criticism of the Bucs 23-year old standout wide receiver.

Apparently Evans heard the message loud and clear and reevaluated his position on Tuesday, issuing a statement.

“I want to start by apologizing to all the U.S. military members, their families, and the fans who I offended by my actions on Sunday. It was never my intention as I have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve our country. I have very strong emotions regarding some of the many issues that exist in our society today. I chose to sit as an expression of my frustration towards this year’s election. It was very personal for me, as it was for so many Americans. With that being said, I will not sit again during the National Anthem because I want to focus my efforts on finding more effective ways to communicate my message and bring about change by supporting organizations and movements that fight for equal rights for minorities. This Sunday, I will be back to standing with my teammates.”

Bucs WR Mike Evans - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Getty Images

Evans spoke to the media following the win over the Bears and said his stance was different than 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, instead he was unhappy with the election of Donald Trump.

“I said this a long time ago,” Evans said on Sunday. “When [Trump] ran, I thought it was a joke, and the joke continues. I’m not a political person that much, but I got common sense. And I know when something’s not right.”

Evans position created a firestorm, maybe more than anyone expected after he made his feelings known on Sunday. Evans decision on Sunday led to several thousands of opinions being shared on social media, with an overwhelming amount of them criticizing his position. PewterReport.com received numerous message and emails stating fans would either boycott future home games or not renew their season tickets next year. A few fans even went as far as to burn Evans’ jersey in protest.

On Monday Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter spoke about the controversy and what he thought about Evans timing with Sunday being the Bucs “Salute To Service Day” at Raymond James.

“Again, I didn’t have anything to do with the timing so I’m not the right person to ask about that,” Koetter said. “Maybe you guys can get the chance to talk to Mike on Wednesday. I’m not the person to ask. Let me say this, Military Appreciation Day at the stadium yesterday, I thought, was awesome. I personally took pictures with a ton of Military personnel on the field. I shook a ton of hands on the field. I saw other players doing the same thing. I thought the display by the Military and the fly-over, the choir that sang before the game – I thought that was awesome. Right when the National Anthem – Jameis stands by me during the National Anthem – that Military choir sang, and when that was over, I turned and looked at Jameis and said, ‘If that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will.’”

How this controversy would have affected the remainder of the Bucs 2016 season is anyones guess, but regardless it wouldn’t have helped the Bucs as they try and get back to .500 this Sunday with a tough matchup with the 7-2 Chiefs in Kansas City. There most likely has been some damage done, but little that can’t be repaired with Evans explanation now offered and his decision to stand moving forward.

 

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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Iowabucfan
Iowabucfan (@iabucfan)
5 years ago

I am pleased and thankful that he apologized for his actions. I am hopeful that it is behind everybody so defeating the Chiefs becomes the priority.
Go Bucs!

76Buc
76Buc (@76buc)
5 years ago

It was an asinine thing to do with all the military people present and a huge flag unfurled. Trump was not in the Military! How ever, unlike the moron in S.F., this young man gets it. Good job.

Garv
Garv (@garv)
5 years ago

I am proud of Mike for this action. It took guts to admit he was wrong and certainly accept his apology and hope we all can move on.

Go Bucs!

Bucs2021SBChamps
Bucs2021SBChamps (@jw4lyf36)
5 years ago

Good stuff. I was fine either way because it is his choice, but with the reaction it had I’m glad he changed his mind.

billbyrne
billbyrne (@billbyrne)
Reply to  JW4Lyf36
5 years ago

Evans did not change his mind…he changed his comments. He still feels the same way and his actions dishonored his country and those who died that give him the right to protest. As a Marine Corps veteran of ten years, I will never respect Evans again!

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  billbyrne
5 years ago

Mike Evans did apologize, and said it was not his intent to disrespect veterans, rather he was making a political statement that he now regrets. I didn’t like what he did, thought it was the wrong thing to do, But to say you’ll never respect him again is pretty intolerant.

You’ve never said or done anything that you regretted in life? We all do that, some more than others, but we all do so. If respect demands perfection, then no human being who ever stepped foot on this planet deserves respect, including you sir. Or me.

compewterpirate
compewterpirate (@compewterpirate)
Reply to  billbyrne
5 years ago

Evans actually clarified his position and articulated clearly that he meant no disrespect to those who had served in the military. “I want to start by apologizing to all the U.S. military members, their families, and the fans who I offended by my actions on Sunday. It was never my intention as I have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve our country.” He has no obligation whatsoever to change his mind with regards to his opinions, which are both his constitutional right as protected by the 1st Amendment and his inalienable right as a human being. I… Read more »

Pick6
Pick6 (@pick6)
5 years ago

I think “reverses position” is a bit presumptuous, unless somebody knows that he was previously planning to do it for the rest of his career or the entirety of a Trump presidency. I think it was always a one time thing that had to do with the results earlier in the week. The timing coincided with the Salute to Service, which caught him some extra flack, but our president-elect just spent 18 months calling POWs “losers”, insulting the intelligence or our military leadership, and feuding with a Gold Star family and won the highest office in the land, so honestly… Read more »

wnb0395
wnb0395 (@wnb0395)
Reply to  Pick6
5 years ago

Pick 6, Its amazing that our president elect did all those things you stated above and still received 54% trump to 25% clinton of the votes from our active soldiers. Obviously, they don’t see it the same way you do. Our Military preferred Trump by a huge margin.

MWD
MWD (@mikewestdominguez)
Reply to  wnb0395
5 years ago

wnb, this is the story that sealed her deal with many former and current veterans:

http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-bosnia-sniper-fire-2016-6

I do agree with Trump in that we give the media too much access to military operations, he continued to repeat on pretty much all of his debates “where is the element of surprise?” In this election, I think it was pretty much, pick the turd that does not smell the worst and in the end, In my opinion, people just selected someone who spoke their mind despite not being politically correct versus someone who “faked the funk” and really seemed plastic.

wnb0395
wnb0395 (@wnb0395)
Reply to  Michael WestDominguez
5 years ago

I couldn’t have said it better myself WestDominguez. I also believe the people are tired on our congressman and senators not representing them. They only care about lobbyist and making money. the fact Trump wants to clean up congress and limit terms was a big reason I was for him even though he has no filter on his mouth. Hopefully we picked the less stinky turd.

Pick6
Pick6 (@pick6)
Reply to  wnb0395
5 years ago

Can’t argue with facts. My point was not the election, it was comparing this football player’s infraction to what is acceptable from the president-to-be. Seems like a weird double standard

russmillerwy
russmillerwy (@russmillerwy)
5 years ago

Evans just came to grips with the weirdness of Trompe fanatics and did a slight pivot, not a reversal. I don’t think that when the electoral college meets at the state houses on December 19th that this will be an ordinary day. Most of those people are responsible, educated adults and keenly aware of the consequences of putting a looney in the White House. In any case, I imagine that Trump supporters’ intolerance for dissent will ramp up as the protests continue to ramp up. As with Nixon, the longer Trompe stays in the picture, the weirder the culture wars… Read more »

jb™
jb™ (@johnnybuc1)
Reply to  russmillerwy
5 years ago

I find it rather amusing, and not very surprising that right wing Trump supporters like Jack Latvalla condemns Evans for excercising his constitutional right of Free Speech. Just a precursor to what we’re going to be seeing from here on out. The fall of Democracy to the Fascism of the Alt-Right. Great Job America!

gcolerick
gcolerick (@gcolerick)
Reply to  johnnybuc1
5 years ago

Spoken like a true radical left wing liberal that has his head so far up his hiney he probably hasn’t seen the light of day for years. Jack Latvalla was not condemning Mike for exercising his constitutional right of freedom of speech you nimwit. He was condemning him for disrespecting our flag, our national anthem and the soldiers who have all sacrificed so much to preserve that right for us. What you witnessed from America last week was the discontent of politics as usual. This country wanted a change. They want to see a non-politician turn this country around and… Read more »

MWD
MWD (@mikewestdominguez)
5 years ago

Good Man!, Now let’s go up to KC and kick some Chief A**!

BKNYfootballhead
BKNYfootballhead (@bknyfootballhead)
5 years ago

Mike, I hope you continue your dissent in a manner better articulated. Keep fighting the good fight. As an independent voter, I was upset to learn you choose not cast a ballot, but do not let those in opposition of your views break the spirit of your protest by claiming you have no right voice your opinion. Voter suppression is rampant in this country, and the best way to embody the American spirit is to give every citizen equal access and capability to vote. This is a plight you should address. You’ve been humbled by this, and I commend you… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
5 years ago

Can we all get back to football now?

scubog
scubog (@scubog)
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

Here here! Football discussion on a football fan site. What a concept.

compewterpirate
compewterpirate (@compewterpirate)
5 years ago

I think Mike deserves credit for re-assessing his actions in the face of some severe criticism and issue an appropriate apology to those who may have been offended, whilst at the same time not compromising his integrity regarding the subject matter of his protest, to which he is wholly entitled. I am guessing he realises, upon reflection, that the manner of his protest and especially the timing thereof (Military Appreciation Day) were a mistake and having the courage to admit that mistake, takes guts. It also provides closure now to the incident and allows the Bucs as an organisation and… Read more »

areohwhy10
areohwhy10 (@areohwhy10)
5 years ago

Proud of Mike for standing up for what he believes in. I find it funny that he and Kaepernick both state unequivocal support for the military and it’s members and leave no doubt about what they are protesting, but people completely ignore that and try to determine what their actions mean for them. Too bad he felt the need to apologize but at least it won’t be a distraction and back to football. Beat KC!!!

TheV_FL
TheV_FL (@vince_gabel)
Reply to  areohwhy10
5 years ago

I do not believe these individuals should use an NFL Football field as the platform to express their belief.

scubog
scubog (@scubog)
Reply to  Vince_Gabel
5 years ago

Totally agree. There a far more appropriate forums to express one’s opinions.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  areohwhy10
5 years ago

So you’d be equally proud if Mike attended your son or daughter’s graduation ceremony, and just as your kid is handed a diploma, Mike jumps up onstage with a megaphone and launches into a rant about the election? Or if Mike attended your son or daughter’s wedding, just as the officiant/preacher/priest/rabbi pronounces the happy couple as husband and wife, he jumped out into the aisle with a megaphone and launched into a rant about the election? I am pretty sure if that happened to your kid, you’d want to (but probably not have the balls to) gang tackle Mike Evans… Read more »

areohwhy10
areohwhy10 (@areohwhy10)
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 years ago

No actually that’s not what he did. He chose to quietly kneel as a form of protest for something he believed in. He didn’t jump around and get a megaphone and find a cameraman to put himself on the jumbotron and say look at me. You wouldn’t have even known about it if they didn’t ask him about it. And again he prefaced his statement by stating his admiration for military members. This country was literally built and founded through violent dissent. A group of people violently rebelled against a perceived injustice and threats against their freedom. All the while… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  areohwhy10
5 years ago

Kneeling during the national anthem brought extreme attention to Mike Evans, as he knew it would. That’s why there are multiple posts here at PR with kajillions of angry comments, both pro and con, and that is why his own coach and team owners had to go out and make public statements, and that is why the national media ran a bunch of articles that generated hundreds of thousands of comments on social media over this … every single bit of which buzzkilled the honors that were intended for veterans on that special occasion. You are dense – you just… Read more »

JayBuc52
JayBuc52 (@jaybuc52)
5 years ago

Well, after being disappointed in Evans for a day or so, he has regained my respect. It is not what he believes that I objected to, rather it was the fact that he chose to do it by sitting down for the national anthem, especially on a day honoring our military. While he has every right to do so, he dishonored them and all of us for which the flag is an emblem of freedom. Make your statements, become an activist, oppose the policies; that is your right, but do it in more productive and appropriate ways. We may not… Read more »

GrafikDetail
GrafikDetail (@gafikdetail)
5 years ago

good! now these crybabies can shut the hell up and we can get back to football…

MIArmysoldier
MIArmysoldier (@miarmysoldier)
5 years ago

As a veteran of the US Army that has been deployed, i accept his apology and am ready to see a good game Sunday- time to focus on your job Mike, catch the ball and help win games. Go Bucs!

htownbucfan03
htownbucfan03 (@htownbucfan03)
5 years ago

Wow so because he agree he should not have “protest” he has gained back whatever respect he loss from fans. So when he drops the game winning td or can’t get open will u be ok with that??? I’m sorry I prefer he has an opinion or position and stick with it. If he breaks under this type of bogus pressure with ppl who really don’t care for Mike outside of his ability to help the team that they root for then what happens when he goes a game or so of being shutdown will he break to that pressure???… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  htownbucfan03
5 years ago

Mike Evans was the one who took it upon himself to interject politics in NFL football and, even much worse, interjected politics into a ceremony intended to honor veterans who sacrificed so that people like Mike Evans could vote – which he admits he did not bother to do – and exercise his right to free speech. What Mike did, and then apologized for, is akin to attending your friend’s religious wedding, and in the middle of the sacred ceremony launches into a rant on the evils of organized religion, offending virtually everybody in attendance. One would be well within… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy (@eastendboy)
5 years ago

“The Buccaneers are deeply committed to the military and honoring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country. We encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We also recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish.”

martinii
martinii (@martinii)
5 years ago

Thanks Mike for the apology and the opportunity to clear the air on many of our differences. Who says Football is not a reflection of real life and a metaphorical window to our souls? Now Please let’s get back to football!

billbyrne
billbyrne (@billbyrne)
5 years ago

As a ten year Marine Corps veteran, Vietnam era, I was disgusted with Mike Evans when I found out he sat down through the National Anthem Sunday. The National Anthem and Pledge to the flag is to honor our Country and all who died fighting for our freedom. Protesting the election of President-elect Trump places Evans in the same category with “Black Lives Matter” and gave me pleasure when I threw his game jersey in the trash. I have been a season ticket holder since 1997 and may not renew my ticket for 2017.

matador
matador (@matador)
Reply to  billbyrne
5 years ago

Wow. You are some pompous windbag, aren’t you? Get over yourself.
Half of America feels like the US government has been taken over by a sickening combination of a fascist dictator and the Kardashians. The orange clown has disgraced this country – and its Veterans for goodness sake – in countless ways, shredding documents to avoid a government subpoena among them, and you’re angry with Mike?
If you did that to Mike’s jersey I’d hate to see what you did to your Trump University sweatshirt. Lighten up, Frances.

fredster
fredster (@fredster)
5 years ago

What he did was stupid,immature, classless, and disrespectful. Glad he came to his senses and apologized. Now hopefully we can move on. Damage has been done and negative attention to this team and the distraction it brought hopefully will go away with time but I won’t forget who he is as a person. Won’t ever support him or buy his jersey. Many ways you can communicate what you think without disrespecting our country and military. Those of you bone heads that think it’s not disrespectful because him and Kaepernick said it’s towards the military are clueless. I for one don’t… Read more »

fredster
fredster (@fredster)
5 years ago

Meant he said it’s NOT directed at the military. Actions speak louder than words!

drdneast
drdneast (@drdneast)
5 years ago

Apparently billybyrne, you didn’t have a clue as to what you were fighting for.
I don’t like flag burning, but that was something else you were fighting for.
I am not sure by your statement if you are offended the fact Evans dislikes a self admitted sexual predator who is a failed businessman many times over who has cheated literally thousands of hard working Americans out of their money, or the fact he was sitting down.

bucsmaniac
bucsmaniac (@bucsmaniac)
5 years ago

Sad that he had to apologize…just another reason that people should not speak out because someone might take offense.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  bucsmaniac
5 years ago

Mike apologized because he actually did offend a lot of people that he didn’t realize at the time he was offending. That is right, and the opposite of “sad”. That you cannot see that people who give offense should never apologize afterward suggests that you might be either a narcissist or a sociopath who, by definition, just doesn’t give a damn whom you offend. This has nothing to do with politics – it has everything to do with common sense, growing up (which a lot of commenters here seem not to have accomplished yet in life), and being aware that… Read more »

scubog
scubog (@scubog)
5 years ago

Can we now get back to football and stop this incessant name-calling? I really couldn’t care less about what some of you think about the election since most of you don’t have a clue beyond the political rhetoric you actually believe and continue to spew. I am far more interested in what you think about our offensive play calling than I am about what you find offensive. As a young 23 year old many of us said and did things without much forethought. I had no problem with Mike wanting to voice and/or demonstrate his dissatisfaction with the more and… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  scubog
5 years ago

I wonder how many of those here and elsewhere who’ve been using this episode to expound on their love or hate for this or that candidate would expect that if they got up in an all hands meeting at their place of employment, for the purpose related to said employment, and instead of doing their job and contributing to the purpose of said place employment, launched into a political, religious, or social issues rant instead … and then expected to not get fired immediately. Ditto with any contractors or subcontractors working for said workplace organization. That’s essentially what Mike Evans… Read more »