Monday, August 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

"My personal view is I'll be standing on the 50-yard line with my hand over my heart,'' Koetter said. "That's what I believe in. You got plenty of guys that believe in that but again, we're not all the same.''

Many players, including Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, spoke passionately about the subject of social injustice and player protests such as the one in Cleveland in which 12 Browns players knelt during the anthem.

The bottom line?

Bucs players are allowed to express themselves however they choose.

"Coach opened it up about the national anthem and guys protesting and sitting down, letting us know that we can do what we want,'' cornerback Vernon Hargreaves said. "He let us know how he felt, and then he opened up the whole team room to anyone who had anything to say: Stand up and preach your opinion.''

So they did. A few at first, and then a larger discussion that spilled over into the locker room, McCoy said.

"This issue we're dealing with in the world is bigger than football, it's bigger than sports, and guys are trying to make stands,'' McCoy said. "The thing I like about Dirk is he lets everybody be individuals. He lets you be you. And he opened for discussion, 'Hey, if anybody has an opinion, let's talk about it.' And that's the problem with society now.

"Everybody wants to get mad and fight. Immediately, everybody wants to fight. Nobody wants to talk about the situation no more because you don't even know why a person thinks the way they think or feels the way they feel and they know how you feel. We just don't have conversations and talk anymore as a society and that's the problem, man.''

The Bucs, Rays and Lightning jointly announced a donation to help publicly fund the removal and relocation of a Confederate statue to a private cemetery.

"This thing is about love," McCoy continued. "We've got to love each other and everybody just wants to fight. And Dirk, he opened it up to us and let us have a conversation because we're a team. We've got to be a family. If we're going to talk about this, I'm going to let everybody have free rein, free will to feel how you feel but after we stress it, we're going to move forward.

Last season, Bucs receiver Mike Evans sat for the anthem in Week 11 to protest the election of President Donald Trump, but he received a lot of negative feedback and his protest lasted one game.

Evans said last week he supports Seattle and former Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett, who has decided to sit during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

A year ago, following Evans' protest, the Bucs agreed as a team to stand for the anthem. Koetter said on Tuesday players and coaches discussed social issues and respecting everyone's opinion. Tampa is home to MacDill Air Force Base and the United States Central Command.

"It was just great to have that moment and even afterward, the dialogue spread to the locker room and guys were really able to understand why a guy felt the way they felt,'' McCoy said. "And some things were said that guys didn't know about each other. They were like, "Man, I didn't know that about you but now I do.''

Players said the meeting enabled them to become even more galvanized as a football team.

"It was good,'' tackle Donovan Smith said. "To sit there and have a coach touch on an issue like that, for everybody to have an open forum, it was real good for our team. From the top to the bottom, from the leaders on this team, it speaks volumes to the kind of people we have in this building."

Sign up for Bucs Red Zone

A daily report of whats happening inside the locker room and on the field.

 

Sign up for our other newsletters

(View our Privacy Policy)

Comments
Who says preseason doesn’t count for Bucs?

Who says preseason doesn’t count for Bucs?

TAMPA — Monday was a beautiful day out at One Buc Place.Sunny. Blue skies. Hot, but not a thousand degrees like it has been in recent weeks around here.The Bucs were finally back home after spending most of the past week in Nashville. And despi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Vita Vea, Mitch Unrein injuries have Bucs scouring waiver wire again

Vita Vea, Mitch Unrein injuries have Bucs scouring waiver wire again

TAMPA — The Bucs continued to address their mounting injuries on defense by signing fifth-year defensive tackle Jerel Worthy.Rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first round pick from Washington, hasn't played since suffering a calf str...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Justin Watson standing out in battle for Bucs’ final receiver spot

Justin Watson standing out in battle for Bucs’ final receiver spot

In the battle for the fifth receiver spot, Justin Watson needed to stand out.  Being 6-foot-3, 216 pounds helps. But the Penn rookie needed a play to separate himself from the pack.He got it at the end of the first half in Saturday's 30-14 win a...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs now have Men in Black, injured players with no-contact jerseys

Bucs now have Men in Black, injured players with no-contact jerseys

Bucs cornerback M.J. Stewart and safety Jordan Whitehead suffered injuries in Saturday's 30-14 win against the Titans Saturday and had to leave the game.They were both back at practice Monday, but with a warning flag of sorts. Stewart and Whitehead w...
Published: 08/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What a difference in Bucs quarterbacks

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What a difference in Bucs quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled while Jameis Winston dazzled, showing improvement in his footwork and scrambling, in the Bucs' preseason victory over the Titans. Tampa Bay also has gotten good play from DeSean Jackson, while rookie Ronald Jones ...
Published: 08/20/18
Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

TAMPA – Ask Peyton Barber his approach to training camp or preseason games, and his answer is meant to bull over the questioner as if it's all that's standing between him and the goal line."I think the end-all goal for me is to be the star...
Published: 08/19/18
Bucs claim defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers from the Eagles

Bucs claim defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers from the Eagles

Facing a critical shortage of interior defensive linemen, the Bucs on Sunday claimed Eagles defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers. To make room for Reth, the Bucs waived/injured defensive tackle Drew Iddings, who joined the team last week.With both ...
Published: 08/19/18
Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

NASHVILLE — Here in the land of love-sick country ballads where the dog dies, the pickup truck tires are slashed and somebody leaves a note on the way out of town, Bucs fans should already start missing Jameis Winston.Oh, he's not gone, gone, g...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18
Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents while tuning in to the WFLA-Ch. 8 broadcast of Saturday night's Bucs-Titans preseason game.It's preseason. And it was just the second preseason game at that, so there's no reason to get too ...
Published: 08/18/18
Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

NASHVILLE — Coach Dirk Koetter joked last week that the Bucs' offense consisted mostly of throwing to WR Mike Evans.All kidding aside, it's not a bad plan.Evans is the most reliable weapon among the Bucs' corps of target-rich receivers. He prov...
Published: 08/18/18