Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fennelly: Evans learns hard lesson in protest, but cut him slack

Welcome to Waffle House. May I take your order?

Oh, who cares? The kid said he was sorry.

Mike Evans' days as a crusader, both of them, are at an end.

Tuesday, the Bucs receiver announced he was quitting his anthem sit-down over the election of Donald Trump.

The circus opened and closed in one game.

"This Sunday, I will be back standing with my teammates," Evans said in a statement.

Think of all the breathable air we just wasted.

Evans apologized to military members (it was a "Salute to Service" game at Raymond James Stadium) and anyone else he might have offended with his protest.

Good deal.

I don't think this guy had any idea of the impact or backlash that would accompany what he did until after he did it.

There are tricks to being a Kaepernick copycat.

Evans saw the light. Maybe the Bucs helped him see it.

But … two days?

I wanted this to go on a little longer for the fun of it. I held out hope that our next commander-in-tweet would fire up the engine.

"Mike Evans! Didn't Vote! ZERO first half catches against Chicago!"

Let's cut Evans some slack. He apologized.

Let's chalk this up to him being 23, being passionate. There is nothing in the world wrong with learning as you go.

Evans said he'll look for "more effective ways" to communicate his message and bring about change. Good for him. I salute him.

Hey, Mike, here's a more effective way to communicate:

Cast a vote.

We knew Evans wasn't truly invested in all this when we learned that he apparently … didn't vote for president.

At least that's what Evans said last week on Instagram.

I fully supported his right to protest. And I fully supported my right to label him a hypocrite.

He called out the election and the winner, but didn't bother to vote?

He undercut his own argument.

It's still kind of undercut.

Voting is the least we can do.

I hear Putin voted like 22 times.

"Elections matter," President Barack Obama said Monday. "Votes count."

I'm glad Evans backed off. Having not voted, then complaining about who won, made him look foolish. Just my opinion.

Evans seems like a good person. He's a great football player.

I don't doubt his passion or beliefs, but he was in over his head.

Maybe a serious discussion will come out of this yet.

I hope it does.

It wasn't lost on anyone that Evans protested on a weekend the Bucs saluted our military. At halftime, dozens of young men and women took an oath of enlistment to join our armed forces.

I was proud of them. They defend something larger than themselves. Under the umbrella they provide is the right of everyone to protest. It also includes my right to allow Evans to change his mind. And to hope someone didn't change it for him, that it came from his heart.

Evans made the right call to throw it in reverse.

Yes, he'll look silly for a while, maybe a great long while, but eventually it will pass. Maybe he learned something. You can't pretend to go all in. Those men and women taking those oaths — that wasn't pretend.

Enough. He apologized.

Mike Evans, stand-up guy.

Fennelly: Evans learns hard lesson in protest, but cut him slack 11/15/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)


    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk captained the only Lightning team to win the Stanley Cup.
  2. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers


    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.
  3. Timmy Claus is coming to town


    The circus is coming to town.

    Well, close enough.

    Timmy the Tebow is coming to Tampa Bay.

    It’s true. At least it could be. St. Timothy has been promoted by the New York Mets to high Class-A Port St. Lucie. If he stays promoted, Tebow should be in Tampa Bay for eight games beginning August 10 …

    Coming soon: Tim Tebow will hit Tampa Bay in August.
  4. Ranking Malik Zaire among 2017's top transfer quarterbacks


    The Florida Gators' Malik Zaire is among many transfers who could become starters at their new school. Here's how he stacks up in our rankings of top transfer quarterbacks:

  5. Lightning re-sign Yanni Gourde to two-year, one-way deal


    Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fightning to stay in pro hockey.

    Yanni Gourde seized his moment with six goals in 20 games as a callup last season.