Bucs' Mike Evans says he will end national anthem protest
Bucs receiver Mike Evans, who drew national backlash after deciding to sit during the national anthem Sunday in protest of Donald Trump's election as president, issued a statement Tuesday saying he had ended that protest.
"I will not sit again during the national anthem because I want to focus my efforts on finding more effective ways to communicate my message and bring about change by supporting organizations and movements that fight for equal rights for minorities," Evans said in a statement. "This Sunday, I will be back to standing with my teammates."
Evans, 23, addressed the protest after Sunday's game, saying that Trump was a "joke" and that he could not stand for something he did not believe in. His action drew threats of boycotts of Bucs games from local politicians and fans, and coach Dirk Koetter said Monday he was personally "disappointed" by Evans' decision, which he didn't find out about until after Sunday's 36-10 Bucs win over the Chicago Bears.
Evans' statement also addressed his frustration over Trump's election and the rationale behind his decision to sit on a bench during the national anthem. Evans is registered to vote in Texas but had written on Instagram last week that he did not vote, despite his opinion on Trump.
"I have very strong emotions regarding some of the many issues that exist in our society today," Evans wrote. "I chose to sit as an expression of my frustration towards this year's election. It was very personal to me, as it was for so many Americans."
Evans reiterated, as he had in his comments Sunday night, that he meant no disrespect toward military personnel, especially knowing that Sunday's Bucs game was their Salute to Service military tribute game.
"I want to start by apologizing to all the U.S. military members, their families and the fans who I offended bby my actions on Sunday," he wrote. "It was never my intention as I have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve our country."