Latvala: Boycott Bucs until player apologizes for anthem protest
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said he won't attend another Tampa Bay Bucs game until receiver Mike Evans apologizes for refusing to stand for the national anthem Sunday on a day the team honored veterans for their service, and he said all Bucs fans should consider doing the same.
"I think it's outrageous, especially on a day when the team was honoring veterans," Latvala said Monday. "He's disrespected the flag, the national anthem and our whole country. I just think it's wrong, it's selfish and I'm tired of it."
Evans, a 23-year-old wide receiver, was protesting Donald Trump's election as president, and Latvala, a Republican who supported Trump, said that made it even worse.
"This is protesting an election by disrespecting the whole nation in front of a stadium full of kids who look up to professional athletes," Latvala said.
Evans removed his cap and remained seated on the bench during the playing of the national anthem on a day when NFL teams held "Salute to Service" tributes across the country, two days after the Veterans Day holiday.
"I'm not going to stand for something I don't believe in," Evans told reporters after the Bucs beat the Chicago Bears, 36-10. "When (Trump) ran, I thought it was a joke. And the joke continues."
The player emphasized that he did not mean to distract from the tribute to the military. "The men and women that have served this country, I'm forever indebted to them," Evans said.