Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans protested the national anthem on Sunday by sitting during its playing, citing the presidential election as the reason behind it. His stance was short-lived, however, as he's ending his protest next week.
Evans issued this statement regarding the situation on Tuesday, apologizing to military members, their families and fans whom he may have offended.
"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."
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Head coach Dirk Koetter spoke out on Evans' decision to sit during the anthem, saying he was "disappointed." Koetter obviously can't tell his player what to do or how to feel, but he did respect Evans' right to express his opinion publicly and freely. It's unclear whether Evans' statement was the result of his coach's feelings, but the timing suggests it may have something to do with it.