Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera explained Monday what he plans to do during the national anthem while players and other teams talk about unified demonstrations this season.
Rivera told NBC4 Sports he will stand during the national anthem but will support the players who choose to kneel in protest of racial injustice and police brutality. He added that he would put the initials “J.L.” on his hat to pay tribute to the late Congressman Rep. John Lewis.
“I’m not going to kneel, because my father served in the military,” Rivera said, despite players insisting that kneeling during the national anthem isn’t disrespecting the military. “My brother was a first responder. My wife’s family was in the military. My dad had brothers that served in World War II. So, to me, standing at attention is what I’m going to do. That’s how I’m going to honor them.”
He did say he would kneel during the pregame coin toss.
“I don’t want the message to be contorted when it comes to, ‘Oh, well, you kneeled during the anthem,’” he told the station. “I’m going to make sure that my message that I have will be during the coin toss. For anybody that disagrees with me, well, I’m sorry, but it’s my right.”
Rivera had previously expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the ensuing unrest in cities across the U.S.