“As I stand for the national anthem, I don’t want there to be questions of why I am standing or if I will kneel…”
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert doesn’t want there to be any doubt where he stands on the issue of sitting during the national anthem.
In an essay entitled “Why I Stand,” Eifert explained that he proudly stands during the Star-Spangled Banner out of love for his country and respect for the military who defend it.
Eifert did not directly address unpatriotic quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has fueled months of controversy by refusing to stand for the anthem.
The unemployed Kaepernick has blamed racism in the NFL — where 70% of the players are black — for why no team wants to sign him.
Eifert said people have the right to protest, but he will always stand for the anthem because of the love and pride he has in the United States. Tyler wrote on Medium:
I stand because I love my country.
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 Corps, 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 expressed his awe for Pat Tillman, the former NFL star who turned down a multi-million-dollar football contract to fight for the United States after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Tillman was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004.
“In 2002, he walked away from millions of dollars and a ‘dream’ most people couldn’t imagine achieving to do one thing, fight for his country,” Eifert wrote. “Pat wasn’t fighting for himself, he wasn’t fighting for one group vs. another; he was fighting for Americans.”
Because of the selfless bravery of heroes like Pat Tillman, Eifert said he cannot disrespect his flag, his anthem, the military, or his fellow Americans by refusing to stand.
“These people are why I am standing, because they gave me and everyone else the chance to have freedom and earn a living playing a sport I love,” Eifert wrote. “I respect my fellow players’ right to kneel during the national anthem, but I hope everyone now knows why I stand, and respects that as well.”
Tyler Eifert echoed the sentiments of other NFL stars who unabashedly support their country, their flag and their anthem. Last weekend, the Cleveland Browns locked arms with police and members of the military before their NFL opening game in a show of solidarity.
Football fans — disgusted by the divisive politics that have infiltrated the NFL — applauded the Cleveland Browns’ show of unity.
Before the game, the team also ran through the stadium tunnel with police and members of the military before standing together for the Star-Spangled Banner. The touching gesture drew widespread praise.
— Mark (@mtsuneishi) September 10, 2017
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 10, 2017
Hey Kaepernick, take some notes:
Kaepernick and other NFL players who take a knee should learn a lesson from wheelchair bound player during anthem ?? pic.twitter.com/8051xXCmzG
— Katie Painter (@abbeysmima1) September 20, 2016
— S Nelson (@StevenJNelson) May 30, 2017
— Jon (@eggleston_jon) September 23, 2016
This powerful image of a wounded vet holding himself upright in his wheelchair for the anthem despite having no legs pic.twitter.com/qzZ7phuBfo
— slone ? (@slone) August 29, 2016
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 13, 2017
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