Green Bay Packers tight end Lance Kendricks comes from a military family and has never thought twice about standing for the national anthem. That is, until Donald Trump finally forced his hand.
Kendricks, whose grandfather served in World War II and uncles fought in Vietnam, decided to take a seat during the national anthem in Week 5. Before Trump made his recent remarks encouraging NFL owners to fire “any son of a b—” who protests during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Kendricks never thought about taking part in the demonstrations.
“I was one of those people who was like, ‘I understand why he’s doing it, but I wouldn’t do it,’” Kendricks told Ryan Wood of USA Today. “That’s how I felt about it.”
Kendricks was also bothered by the way Trump has handled the disaster in Puerto Rico that was caused by a major hurricane. The tight end’s wife has family in Puerto Rico, and he says Trump’s lack of urgency in assisting the country “broke the camel’s back.”
Kendricks said he knows fans are upset about his decision to sit, but he hopes they understand the real reasons behind it.
“As a diehard fan, you might want to at least try to understand or do some research into it, and be like, ‘OK, I understand why he did what he did,’” Kendricks said. “As opposed to just automatically being like, ‘No, eff you guys. That was stupid. Stand up.’
“You wear this jersey at this bar, and you’re proud of what we’re doing on that field, and we’re busting our a– for you. But when we voice our opinion on a social issue, you’re against us?”
Trump has essentially declared war against the NFL with some of the things he has said in recent weeks, and the result has been players like Kendricks wanting to showcase their opposition to the president’s views. He probably won’t be the last player to change his mind about the national anthem.