Colin Kaepernick‘s stand against racial injustice briefly inspired one of his NFL comrades to follow his lead. On Monday, rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres said that he wouldn’t stand up for the national anthem, like the 49ers quarterback, before the Eagles‘ fourth preseason game Thursday.
Speaking with ESPN.com, Tavarres revealed his initial intentions.
“Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it,” Tavarres said of sitting down Saturday. “And usually I’m front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that’s since pre-K all the way up. Saturday’s game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn’t feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.”
However, Tavarres then changed his mind — rather, his agent changed his mind.
According to ESPN, Tavarres’ agent admitted that he advised his client to stand for the anthem. And now, Tavarres won’t be sitting down and taking a stand with Kaepernick because he doesn’t want to be a “distraction.”
“He plans on standing for the national anthem,” Corey Williams said in a statement, per ESPN. “Myke does not want to be a distraction to the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Myke’s goal is and will always be to make the Eagles 53-man roster and help the team win a Super Bowl.”
It’s clear why Tavarres won’t be sitting down on Thursday: He’s afraid it will jeopardize his roster spot.
Tavarres, who went undrafted, noted in his ESPN interview that he had “nothing to lose.” His agent apparently didn’t agree.
“In this situation, I’ve really got nothing to lose,” Tavarres said. “I’m a rookie free agent, haven’t signed any major contract, so there’s not a lot of money on the line, I don’t have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what’s at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn’t stand my ground on this issue we have today?
“[It] needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don’t think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don’t know if it’s going to be burned, but it’s a major issue and I’m definitely going to stand my ground for this one.”
So, as you can see, Tavarres made a total 180.
So far, not every NFL player has been entirely supportive of Kaepernick. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins didn’t condemn Kaepernick’s cause, but he didn’t agree with Kaepernick’s method. Kaepernick’s former coach, Jim Harbaugh, would seem to agree with Jenkins. Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins implored Kaepernick to use real actions instead of “standing up and saying things.” Kaepernick’s ex-teammate, Alex Boone, ripped him.
But Kaepernick’s message clearly resonated with Tavarres.
“We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up,” Tavarres said. “We’ve got that right. There’s just a lot going on that people don’t want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we’re looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he’s doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that’s his opinion, he’s entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it.”
Regardless of which side players and coaches take, they shouldn’t doubt Kaepernick’s intentions. When Kaepernick explained his decision, he answered questions from reporters for 18 minutes. He was able to explain his stance and his reasoning.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick said that he plans on continuing to sit during the national anthem until meaningful change occurs.
Wink of the CBS eye to ESPN’s Tim McManus
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Eagles rookie to stand for national anthem after saying he’d sit like Kaepernick