Bucs coach Dirk Koetter ‘disappointed’ in Mike Evans’ protest of Donald Trump
A day after Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest to Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, head coach Dirk Koetter said he was “disappointed” in Evans’ decision.
“Yeah, I'm disappointed for that,” Koetter said, via USA Today. “I also respect Mike's freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”
Koetter even re-read the statement he made in August when he was asked how he would react if one of his players joined Colin Kaepernick’s protest, which attempted to shine a light on social injustice.
“Believe it or not, we have practiced how to line up for the national anthem, we've worked on it. I don't know if our organization has the right to tell a guy that he needs to do that,” Koetter said in his statement. “I would be disappointed if any of our players didn't stand up for the national anthem, personally. I look at that as a salute to the people who have paved the way for us, but at the same time this is a free country and I think freedom of speech is something that we all believe in and freedom of expression. That's an individual's choice, that's a fine line there. I would personally be disappointed, but I think it would be hard to enforce that rule.”
When asked about his decision to sit Sunday, Evans said he didn't want to “disrespect” members of the military. But he felt he needed to show his displeasure about the election results.
I don't want to disrespect the veterans or anything. The men and women that serve this country, I'm forever indebted to them,” Evans said. “But the things that have been going on in America lately, I'm not going to stand for that.
“I told myself, 'If this character' — I'm not big on politics or things like that — but I told myself, 'If this happens, then America is not right right now. I said it a long time ago. When he ran, I thought it was a joke. The joke continues.”