NFL players around the league protested during the national anthem on Sunday, a response to critical comments President Donald Trump made about the league during a rally on Friday night. The Steelers stayed in the locker room save for Alejandro Villanueva, other teams had players who took a knee, and Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy took the time during the national anthem to continue his warm up.
LeSean McCoy stretches during the national anthem. Video courtesy @JennaCottrell @WKBW @13WHAM #Bills pic.twitter.com/2tT4NmdoD8— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) September 24, 2017
McCoy continued to run in place and stretch while others stood or kneeled.
McCoy previously has been critical of Colin Kaepernick, who sparked the protests in the NFL when he took a knee during the national anthem to bring attention to systematic discrimination against black Americans by the police. In August, McCoy told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that teams would be hesitant to sign the former 49ers quarterback:
“There’s certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there’s other players that it’s not good enough or not worth it. I think his situation is not good enough to have him on the team with all the attention that comes along with it."
But President Donald Trump’s remarks on Friday seem to have motivated McCoy to become involved in the league-wide protests happening on Sunday. The day after his statements, McCoy went on Twitter and made it clear what he thought of Trump calling out players who protested as “that son of a bitch,” and urging team owners to fire them.
It's really sad man ... our president is a asshole— Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) September 23, 2017
After the game, McCoy was asked what he would say to Donald Trump, given the opportunity.
LeSean McCoy on a big #Bills win and his message to President Trump: "Us Americans are together. Stop trying to divide us." @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/nUOsaaB3gF— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 24, 2017
“My message to him is, be a president. Be respectful,” McCoy said. “Us Americans, we’re together. Stop trying to divide us.
“That’s the biggest thing, man, and it showed today from guys taking knees, from guys touching shoulders show him that we’re all in this together.”