Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres has decided to join San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in sitting out the national anthem.
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Speaking to ESPN on Monday, Tavarres said he almost sat during the pregame ceremony at the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend, and he plans to follow through when the Eagles host the New York Jets in their preseason finale Thursday night.
"Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it," Tavarres said of sitting Saturday night. "And usually I'm front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that's since pre-K all the way up. Saturday's game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn't feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand -- or sitting down -- for the fourth game."
Kaepernick has created a national conversation for opting not to stand for "The Star Spangled Banner" this preseason because of his views on the country's treatment of racial minorities.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had an open forum on the topic during a group meeting Monday, according to multiple players. Several people talked, including Malcolm Jenkins, Leodis McKelvin and Tavarres, one source in attendance said.
"We've got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up," Tavarres said. "We've got that right. There's just a lot going on that people don't want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we're looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he's doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that's his opinion, he's entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it."
Tavarres is an undrafted rookie out of Incarnate Word. He made the first round of cuts, as the Eagles recently trimmed their roster to 74 players, and is trying to make the team to contribute mainly on special teams.
He indicated that some people in the building are aware of his plans but said he hasn't had a conversation with his coaches yet.
"In this situation, I've really got nothing to lose," he said. "I'm a rookie free agent, haven't signed any major contract, so there's not a lot of money on the line, I don't have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what's at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn't stand my ground on this issue we have today?
"(It) needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don't think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don't know if it's going to be burned, but it's a major issue and I'm definitely going to stand my ground for this one."
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