JJ Watt slams fan who says kneeling during anthem is 'disrespecting' flag: 'You clearly haven't been listening'
"If you still think it's about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven't been listening," Watt told the fan
Houston Texans star J.J. Watt took to Twitter on Saturday to scold one of his fans who claimed that the three-time Defensive Player of the Year will never take a knee during the national anthem, as other players in the league to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. When the fan said in a presently deleted tweet that they were "pretty sure" that Watt will never kneel, along with three American flag emojis, Watt responded by snapping at the suggestion. “Don’t speak for me," he said, adding, "If you still think it's about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven't been listening."
Earlier this month, he wrote a lengthy post on social media which called for increased understanding and justice in the nation following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died on May 25 while in police custody. In the post, Watt shared a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. which said, "There comes a time when silence is betrayal."
In the extended caption, Watt wrote: "Silence is unacceptable. I spoke on the murder of George Floyd last week, but realize that my comments may not have made their way to Instagram/Facebook and I do not want the absence of those words to imply my silence on the subject. I personally believe that a social media post can only accomplish so much. Listening, learning, understanding and asking how we can help, accomplishes (sic) much more."
He added: "When I first saw the video of George Floyd’s murder, I was disgusted and upset. In no simple terms, George Floyd should be alive right now. There were many ways in which the situation could have been remedied, all of which would have prevented his death. I have never had to feel that fear for my life. I have never had to experience a situation where I felt threatened simply because of the color of my skin. I can’t sit here and pretend to know what that feels like. But I can understand and acknowledge that it’s wrong and that nobody should ever feel discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Racism is a problem and silence won’t solve it. I certainly don’t have the answers, nor do I pretend to. But I do intend to listen, learn, understand and ask how I can help."
Last month, Watt said that he had devoted all his free time due to the coronavirus lockdown to training for the start of the NFL season. “We don't know what's going to happen,” Watt said. “But I'm training like it's gonna happen on time. And, I'm looking forward to playing -- fans, no fans -- whatever it is. I'm just looking forward to competing and just doing what we do."
He added that while he felt that return of football was necessary, it could not be done at the cost of human life. "We love the game. We love the competition as long as it's safe for everybody," Watt said. “You have to remember we have coaches who are older. We have people helping out on the sidelines and staff members."