Bucs' Evans sits during anthem to protest Trump's election

Mike Evans says he wasn’t trying to show lack of respect for veterans with his protest.
Mike Evans says he wasn’t trying to show lack of respect for veterans with his protest.
Published Nov. 14, 2016

TAMPA — Bucs receiver Mike Evans sat on the bench, his ball cap removed, during the national anthem before Sunday's game to protest Donald Trump being elected president.

"I'm not going to stand for something I don't believe in," Evans told the media. "I'm not big on politics. I told myself, 'If this happens, then America's not right, right now.' I said this a long time ago. When (Trump) ran, I thought it was a joke. And the joke continues. I'm not a political person that much, but I've got common sense. I know when something's not right."

Evans' comments came after a 36-10 win over the Bears. He made it clear that he didn't mean to take away from the "Salute to Service" military tribute the Bucs had Sunday, an event that included an oath of enlistment at halftime and jets flying over Raymond James Stadium after the anthem.

"I don't want to disrespect the veterans or anything," Evans, 23, said. "The men and women that have served this country, I'm forever indebted to them. But the things that have been going on in America lately, I'm not going to stand for that."

Evans then invoked the hidden-camera prank show Punk'd that actor Ashton Kutcher produced for MTV from 2003-2007.

TOM JONES: Criticism of Mike Evans' protest is the real shame.

"When Ashton Kutcher comes out and says we've been punked, then I'll stand again. I won't stand anymore," Evans said.

Evans didn't elaborate on what he objected to about Trump's election, which has led to protests across the country. He said his protest is different from that of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has kneeled during the anthem to protest treatment of minorities.

When asked why he was protesting, Evans spoke generally of who Trump is in his opinion.

"For how a reality star can be the president," Evans said, "that's not a good look for America, I don't think, for who he is. It's not about the Republican Party, the Democratic Party or anything like that. It's who he is. It's well-documented what he's done, and I'm not going to stand for something I don't believe in."

The Bucs said in a statement they "encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the national anthem. We also recognize every individual's constitutional right to freedom of speech."