“ ‘Land of the free’ he wasn’t talking about me.”
Future NFL Hall of Famer Charles Woodson was an outspoken player during his 18-year career with the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. But retirement hasn’t silenced the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner. Now he’s speaking his mind as the newest analyst on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. Yesterday, Woodson didn’t sidestep a controversial issue when he admitted that Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem changed his thoughts on a song he stood up for during his playing days.
Here are some of Woodson’s thoughts on Sunday NFL Countdown:
“Standing up there on that sideline and singing that national anthem, the flags is open and the whole nine—that was one of the great joys of my life, right? And so what happens is when they have these protests you start looking at different things. And then you go back and you look at the author of the national anthem, right? He had slaves. You look at Francis Scott Key, he was a slave owner. So now as I’m thinking about the national anthem, and I hear that line ‘for the land of the free’ he wasn’t talking about me.”
Woodson also believes that Kaepernick has been unfairly criticized as being disrespectful:
“We talk about him protesting and being disrespectful. He didn’t pull his shoulder pads off and run around the stadium and go grab some prop and run around and be disruptive. Nah, he sat down in peaceful protest. If I was in the military and I looked over there and I saw this man protesting, in peace, I would actually feel proud that, as a military man (or woman), that the freedom that I go across these waters and fight for, that’s it excercised with this young man sitting down.”