Over a dozen Patriots kneel for national anthem to boos from crowd

Boston Globe Photo

The anthem protests sweeping the league made their way to Foxborough yesterday, as over a dozen Patriots players took a knee for the playing of the national anthem before the game against Houston. Per CBS Boston, team captain Devin McCourty shared the group's motivations for the protest:

“First and foremost, we hate that people are going to see it as that we don’t respect the military and the men and women that are way braver than us that go and put their life on the line every day for us to have the right to play football, and we know people are going to see it that way,” veteran safety and team captain Devin McCourty said at the podium on Sunday. “Guys have family members, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters that serve, and they were really conflicted about it. But, we just wanted to send a message of unity and being together and not standing for the disrespect and different ways guys felt,” continued McCourty. “[There were] so many different things going through a lot of guys heads, and it was unique to see guys kind of come together and bond together as a group before the game and do that. But, I think all of us want a message that goes out of unity, being together, obviously as a team, and also as a fraternity of NFL players. Guys talk throughout the league about that, and it was great to be a part of a lot of guys trying to do the right thing. Obviously, it won’t be seen as the right thing to everybody, but I think in our hearts, what we focus on the most was that we were trying to do the right thing today.

“I’m proud of our guys and I’m proud of the group and the guys I get to go out there and play football with. They’re all great guys. They’re better people than they are football players,” McCourty said to finish his statement before taking questions about the game.

Brandin Cooks, one of those aforementioned players with family members in the military, said that the intended message of the protest was about "respect and unity...there are only so many ways you can do it.”

Those protesting heard some boos from the home crowd for their gesture. While some of the players (like Cooks) reiterated that they held no ill will towards fans for the boos, it was certainly surprising to hear the Gillette Stadium crowd boo their home team.

While shy of 20 players ended up kneeling, it's worth noting that many of the standing players--including Tom Brady--locked arms in a show of solidarity with those who did kneel.

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