Gerald McCoy: There Would Be 'Uproar' If NFL Forced Players to Stand for Anthem

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2017

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium on August 26, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Browns 30 to 13. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy believes if the NFL requires players to stand for the national anthem, it could cause backlash across the league.

Appearing on Adam Schefter's Know Them From Adam podcast (h/t ESPN.com), McCoy expressed his views on the matter: "I don't think guys are gonna like it. I think it's gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you're basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don't think it's right to take that away from guys."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a league-wide letter Tuesday discussing the notion that all players should stand during the anthem, per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert.

In the letter, Goodell discussed the balance of standing for the anthem and supporting the players' stance on social issues:

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.

"We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

As a means of compromise, Goodell mentioned providing "an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues."

The current NFL policy says players "should" stand for the anthem, but the league has yet to force any players to do so.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did announce a team rule Sunday, however, saying he will bench any player who doesn't stand for the anthem and "respect the flag," per ESPN.com's Chris Mortensen.

The NFL has yet to announce when or how it intends to ensure that players will stand for the anthem, but the topic will be up for discussion during the fall meetings on Oct. 17 and 18.

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