Bill Belichick has remained characteristically quiet about the Colin Kaepernick scandal. The Patriots coach has always made a point of steering clear of political issues and social commentary. The fact that Colin’s refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem has become a national issue has effectively taken the attention away from online NFL betting odds.
And coaches across the league haven’t really shied away from making their opinions known, especially when pressed on the issue. While Chip Kelly chose to respect Colin’s right to do as he pleased, Ben McAdoo (the Giants) and Dirk Koetter (the Buccaneers) both suggested that they would be disappointed if any of their players took such a stance.
And they were not the only ones. While everyone made mention of Colin’s freedom to express himself, many coaches added that their team’s policy was to have players stand for the anthem, at least as a show of respect to the men and women who had fought and died to protect the flag.
The Bill’s Rex Ryan and the Redskin’s Jay Gruden, in particular, encouraged players to put their personal beliefs aside whenever possible to show a united front of respect and admiration for the principals behind the national anthem and the United States Flag.
Jack Del Rio (the Raiders) also supported the freedom that Colin had to express his opinions on social issues, though, his expectations for players to always show respect to the national anthem regardless of their personal beliefs came out loud and clear in his comments and tweets.
Jeff Fisher (the Ram’s) said on ESPN recently that he would be surprised to see a Los Angeles layer emulating Colin, though, he stopped short of criticizing Colin’s actions. Like Bruce Arians (the cardinals), he was quick to defend Colin’s right to make his protestations heard in anywhere that suited him.
Mike McCarthy (Packers) sought to emphasize the responsibility of every player to respect the flag even while giving allowance to those individuals who were unwilling to pursue this particular tradition for personal reasons.
John Harbaugh (Ravens) suggested in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that maybe Colin should have given his actions and decisions further thought, especially with regards to how his stance would affect his team and the league as a whole.
Ron Rivera (Panthers) said that his guys understood the importance of standing for the National Anthem, while Gary Kubiak (Broncos) thought that such decisions had to be personal and that he wouldn’t babysit his team on such matters.
Jim Caldwell (Lions) was quick to point out that Colin’s actions were not necessarily illegal; NFL regulations did not mandate players to stand for the national anthem, though Caldwell didn’t exactly suggest that he agreed with Colin’s actions.
Jason Garrett (Cowboys) emphasized the importance of traditions like standing for the national anthem, especially for those who empathized with the soldiers fighting abroad for the freedoms enjoyed in the United States.
Taking into account the words of Doug Pederson (Eagles), Todd Bowles (Jets) and Sean Payton (The Saints) to mention but a few, few coaches were willing to out rightly criticize Colin’s actions. However, even while choosing to respect Colin’s freedom of expression, there was a hint of displeasure in the words of almost every coach.