Tyler Eifert Writes 'Why I Stand' Article, Will Honor Pat Tillman with Cleats

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2017

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert practices before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

While many NFL players are refusing to stand during the national anthem, Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert made it clear he won't join in on the protest.

Writing on Medium, Eifert said he believes the movement has lost its effectiveness because it "has gotten lost in the media and turned into a debate about whether to sit or stand for the national anthem." Eifert added he will stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" because he loves the United States:

"I stand because I want to honor the people putting their lives on the line for me on a daily basis in the Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

"I stand because my cousin is a pilot in the United States Air Force, risking his life flying F-15s in active war zones. He takes pride in his job protecting Americans, a sacrifice that all members of every branch of the United States military willfully take."

Eifert also shared a photo of cleats he'll wear for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens that honor former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman, who died in 2004 while serving in the United States Army Rangers:

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protest when he remained seated as the national anthem played before a preseason game. He told NFL Network's Steve Wyche he wouldn't "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Since then, the protest has morphed, with some players taking a seat and others kneeling or raising their fist. Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters sat on a training table ahead of his team's Week 1 victory over the New England Patriots:

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat on the bench prior to the Seahawks' preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. In explaining his decision, Bennett said his act wasn't a sign of disrespect toward the U.S. military.

"First of all, I want to make sure that people understand I love the military. My father was in the military," he said, per the Guardian's Tom Lutz. "I love hot dogs, like any other American. I love football like any other American. But I don't love segregation. I don't love riots. I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander. And I just want to see people have equality that they deserve."