TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans sat during the national anthem Sunday, saying he’s disheartened by the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.
The third-year pro said his protest before the game against the Chicago Bears was because he feels electing a reality television star to the highest office in the nation is “not a good look for America.”
“I don’t want to disrespect the veterans or anything. The men and women that serve this country, I’m forever indebted to them. But the things that have been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that,” Evans said.
“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,’” Tampa Bay’s leading receiver added. “I said it a long time ago. When he ran I thought it was a joke. The joke continues.”
The Buccaneers issued a statement Sunday night saying the organization is “deeply committed to the military and honoring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country.”
“We encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the national anthem,” the team added. “We also recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish.”
Evans had four catches for 66 yards against the Bears. He entered the game leading the league with eight touchdown receptions.
Evans said he’ll continue to sit for the anthem as long as Trump is president-elect.
“I’m not a political person that much, but I have common sense,” he said. “And I know when something is not right.”
Evans reiterated that his protest was because of who Trump is, not the Republican or Democratic parties.
“It’s well documented what he’s done,” Evans said. “I’m not going to stand for something I don’t believe in. That’s the end of that.”
Meanwhile, Trump said he’s “saddened” to hear that some of his supporters are inciting violence, and during his first extensive interview after the election, with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” he directly addressed his supporters, telling them to “stop it.”
Trump told CBS News’ Lesley Stahl that he hadn’t heard about the acts of violence carried out in his name either by his supporters or targeting his supporters. He also told Stahl that he hadn’t heard about reports of racial slurs or personal threats by his supporters that have targeted African Americans, Latinos and gays.
“I am very surprised to hear that,” he told Stahl, “I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that.”
And he added that he he had seen only “one or two instances” but “I think it’s a very small amount.”
Stahl asked whether he wanted to say anything to those perpetrators.
“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together,” he responded. Told that they were harassing Latinos and Muslims, he added, “I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it-- if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”