First-year Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule says he is considering taking a knee during the national anthem alongside his players who do so in support of the growing movement against racial injustice.
Taking part in a video question-and-answer with media members, Rhule was asked if he would “consider taking a knee during the national anthem, in support of some players.”
“I would consider anything as we move forward,” Rhule responded. “I’m supportive of the cause. I’m supportive of the movement. I’m supportive of social justice. I think every person — whether a coach, player, everyone — that will be a very personal decision. I think it has to be made at the right time for the right reasons for everybody.”
Rhule added, “I will support my players with whatever they do, and then when the time comes, I will really think deeply about what is the best thing for me and what is the best way that I can show my support. But make no mistake, I’m definitely supportive.”
Two weeks ago, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he would take a knee with any of his players who kneel during the anthem.
Kneeling during the anthem exploded into a national issue in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem as a protest against racism and police brutality. Kaepernick, now 32, has not played in the NFL since 2016, and he eventually settled a collusion case with the NFL last spring.
Kaepernick’s protests gained renewed attention following the death of George Floyd last month. Floyd, an African American man, died after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck for eight-plus minutes. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while three other officers are charged with abetting murder and manslaughter. (The Minneapolis Police Department fired all four officers the day after Floyd’s killing.)
Floyd’s death sparked public protests around the world and led to numerous athletes to speak out against racial injustice.
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