Adrian Peterson to follow Kaepernick in kneeling during national anthem at NFL to protest police brutality
Adrian Peterson is planning to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games this season to protest the May 25 death of George Floyd who died in police custody after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. The 35-year-old Washington running back also said that he is expecting other players to join him.
The inspiration to kneel comes from the action of former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 took the knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Though Kaepernick's silent kneeling protest saw him lose his NFL career, it inspired many including Peterson, who is now planning to do the same.
“Just four years ago, you're seeing Kaepernick taking a knee, and now we're all getting ready to take a knee together going into this season, without a doubt," Peterson said. His remarks came after Saints quarterback Drew Brees commented on kneeling during the national anthem. "We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!" Brees had said.
However, Brees later apologized for his comments and wrote on Instagram: “I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community, and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused."
“In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character,” the 41-year-old athlete said.
Sharing his reaction to Brees' remarks, Peterson said he had wished the Saints quarterback would have understood the issue of protesting by kneeling during the anthem a bit more carefully. “I know Drew Brees. He's not a racist at all, and I have a lot of love for him, but I think this was a situation where he should have thought things out more and tried to look at things in a different view,” Peterson said.
He added: “He made a comment about what he thinks about his grandfather and his great-grandfather going to war. My parents had great-grandparents that went to war as well, but when they came back, they still weren't able to vote. We just didn't have the same rights. When you look at it from that point of view, we understand where you're coming from, but we don’t understand where you're coming from as well for those reasons. We still don't have equality in the United States. Our people fought as well and played a big role in the victory. I love Drew. I have nothing but respect for him, but I think he should have thought about it a little longer."