Last weekend was one of the most controversial weekends in NFL history.
After President Donald Trump fired off at NFL players who have been silently protesting racial inequality and police brutality against minority by taking a knee for the national anthem, teams, including the Buccaneers, got together to show solidarity against Trump’s tirade. Tampa Bay players locked arms during the national anthem in Minnesota, although two Bucs took it a step further.
Wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson decided to take a knee during the anthem, which drew the ire of some Tampa Bay fans.
On Wednesday in the Bucs’ open locker room, Evans spoke about his actions and his plans for this week’s game against the Giants at Raymond James Stadium.
“I think guys will go back to their normal routine,” Evans said. “I’m 50/50 right now. I might go back to my normal routine and stand next to my quarterback and my head coach, or I might take a knee, I don’t know. It was a good time for the league to unite that moment with the president’s words. I addressed what I had to say Sunday.”
Since the massive league-wide protests on Sunday, many fans nationally and locally, have vowed to boycott the NFL until all players stand. Evans was asked if that was a concern to him, and if he worry’s about the long-term success of the league if fans turn their back on the league as some have promised.
“No, people are going to come to games,” Evans said. “Football is one of the best sports in the world, so people are going to come to the games.”
Evans was the only Buccaneer player to sit during the Star-Spangled Banner last season, and vowed that it was a one time thing following the backlash. Evans even apologized for doing it last year on Military Appreciation Day.
Obviously the political climate has changed since last season and with the president calling players “SOBs” for not standing last weekend, Evans reevaluated his position.
The scale of the protests will surely start to wane beginning this weekend after most teams feel their point has been made. However, the disconnect between the league and the fans has grown larger and the long-term effect on ratings and attendance have yet to be determined.