49ers QB Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem, drawing a mix of praise and criticism.
Former NFL great Jerry Rice didn’t agree with it, and neither does New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz.
He recentky told ESPN why. “I think, personally, the flag is the flag,” Cruz said. “Regardless of how you feel about things that are going on in America today, and the things that are going on across the world with gun violence and things of that nature, you’ve got to respect the flag, and you’ve got to stand up with your teammates. It’s bigger than just you, in my opinion.
“I think you go up there, you’re with a team, and you go and you know you pledge your allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem with your team and then you go about your business, whatever your beliefs are.”
Kaepernick’s said his decision to sit for the anthem was because of his views on the country’s treatment of racial minorities. While the issue of racism has been sweeping the nation, Cruz — along with other Giants players — didn’t agree with Kaepernicks’ method of demonstration.
“Colin is his own man. He decided to sit down and that is his prerogative, but on a personal standpoint, I think you have to stand up there with your team and understand that this game and what’s going on around this country are bigger than you,” Cruz said.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that “players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”