“I wouldn’t say that was a compromise,” McCourty said. “I would go out there and say not many players are happy or feel that’s the right way to do it. We’ll see how that all comes about.”
Teams now have the option to stand on the field for the anthem or remain in the locker room. If they are on the field and do not stand, they will be fined.
McCourty went on to say he and his Patriots teammates have not talked about whether or not they will protest the anthem next season, but said he would not be surprised if more protests stem from the new policy.
“I think that’s always a possibility,” McCourty said. ‘”Any time something happens like that and people don’t agree with that, I don’t think — you can take everything else out of it, protests and reasons, some people might just say I don’t like the rule, so I want to do something to go against the rule. I knew that was a possibility as soon as I heard the rule. Like, this is silly.”
McCourty was also one of a few Patriots who were asked to address the narrative that the Patriots don't have fun and that the atmosphere is toxic after former Patriot Cassius Marsh went off on the subject. McCourty said the only way they won't have fun is if they go 0-16.
“I mean, not if we got 0-16,” McCourty said. “That probably wouldn’t be fun. I plan on it. This is fun. There’s some funner things I could do than talking to you, but this isn’t bad.”
And while Marsh clearly had a tough time in New England, McCourty says he understood Marsh's frustrations.
“I think now if you look at a team who beats us in the Super Bowl, and then you got guys who are talking about it, so that’s front page news,” McCourty said.
“Then Cassius leaves, he played here, so then that’s another. Cassius, he had a frustrating time here, so I don’t expect him to leave and say he had a great time.
“I think if you ask any guy on this team, the fun we have comes from hanging with each other. Like, you guys are in the locker room, the relationships between the guys, a lot of the fun happens in the locker room before we even come out here and have fun winning football games. Obviously we work for a living, so in this business, you have to win. So, when you lose, it’s not fun. People get fired, you lose your job, so that’s not fun. So, like, I wouldn’t believe anyone who told me if they only won half their games, they were having the best time of their life. Like, I’m just not here for that.
“I think the value of how we interact and the relationships we have, no one else sees it. No one in Philly can say those guys don’t like each other, they hate it there. You don’t know that. I think you’ve even seen guys leave, and we still have great relationships with them. Guys still talk. To me, that’s the fun part. And then obviously we come out here on Sunday and win games, that’s the best fun at the end of the week. I plan on continuing to do that no matter what is said.”
Other Patriots who spoke on this were Stephon Gilmore, head coach Bill Belichick (albeit very brief), and former players Tedy Bruschi and Matt Chatham.
“I have fun here,” cornerback Stephon Gilmore said Thursday. “So, it’s just no shortcuts. You have to work for everything like that. If you don’t want to take shortcuts, you’ll like it here.”
“We feel what’s important to us is to win,” Belichick said. “So that’s really what we’re trying to do.”
Players that don’t like their Patriot experience are the ones that can’t take tough coaching, get eaten up by the pressure, blame others for failures and expect things are supposed to be given to them.
We had fun winning our rings, this whole conversation is just stupid. It wasn’t easy, but not easy doesn’t mean not fun. Hard can be rewarding, some people don’t like hard. It is what it is. Old Reggie Wayne & Cassius Marsh as proof [of what?] is just crazy comment section logic.