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.

Bucs-Mike-Evans-Locker
WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Mark Cook/PR

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.”

Bucs WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Getty Images

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.

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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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 [email protected]

7 COMMENTS

  1. I hope he kneels . . . . in the endzone . . . . . . after scoring a game winning TD.

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  2. “start to wane this weekend”…idk, Trump won’t back down on seeking attention, he’s mentioned this pretty much everyday since on his Twitter handle. Today he claims the nfl business will “go to hell”. Tomorrow he might drop a F bomb, or pick a fight with Goodell personally.

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    • I wonder who has a better approval rating, Goodell or Trump.

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  3. The answer is clear: stand but put an “SOB” sticker on every helmet.

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    • That’s a good idea.
      How about “basket of SOB’s” that will get he who will not be named irate.
      GO BUCS

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  4. How about they just play football.

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  5. Regardless of your position on the matter, the fact is this. Last year Evans took a knee, then recanted his stance and stated that he would be standing for the anthem from then on. He followed through up until Trump’s statements. So, is he kneeling to protest racial inequality or Trump?

    The question now is, will Evans be a man of his word or not. He is young and impressionable, but he needs to learn to be his own man. If he decided last year that he would stand, then he should stick to his decision. Regardless of what Trump says or what his teammates are doing, he ultimately needs to decide for himself.

    This whole kneeling thing has become a circus and a distraction for so many players. Anyone who wasn’t kneeling before Trump’s comments is clearly reacting to them now. So the question is, will you let one man’s words define your conduct? I hope not, and for all of our sake, I hope big Mike can focus back on the game and do what we all know and expect he can do.

    I’m actually more worried about Evans’ conduct during the game. He became frustrated and was obviously mentally off his game. Time to get back on the horse young man and put up big numbers for our team.

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