Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans refused to stand for the national anthem at a game against the Chicago Bears, citing the election of Donald Trump as the reason for his protest.
"I'm not going to stand for something I don't believe in," said Evans, who has become the most recent in a series of NFL players who have chosen to not stand during the anthem as a form of protest, according to CNN. Evans added that although he does not normally take a stand on politics, the country is "not right" after Trump's election.
"I'm not a political person that much, but I've got common sense. And I know when something's not right," said the Buccaneer. "When he ran, I thought it was a joke, and the joke continues," he added.
Evans' protest comes on the heels of similar acts by players like San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said that he would not stand up "to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," NFL.com reports. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder," said Kaepernick, referring to a number of unarmed black men who were killed in the United States in 2015 and 2016.
Kaepernick's comments and decision not to stand during the anthem drew controversy, but 49ers coach Chip Kelly said that he would respect his player's decision, explaining that the protest was Kaepernick's "right as a citizen," and adding that "it's not my right to tell him not to do something."
Evans said that he would not stand "for someone that I don't believe in," adding that it is "well documented what [Trump has] done."
During the course of Trump's presidential campaign, he has called Mexican immigrants "rapists," called for the deportation of millions of immigrants as well as a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, and a leaked audio tape revealed that he had bragged about sexually assaulting women.
Hate crimes against Muslim, Jewish, black, and LGBT Americans have reportedly skyrocketed in the wake of Trump's victory, according to Haaretz. In the days following Trump's election, the Southern Poverty Law Center said that it has received as many reports of hate crimes as it normally receives in a five or six month period.
"A reality star can be the president, that’s not a good look for America, I think," said Evans. "Because of who he is. It’s not about the Republican party or Democratic party or anything like that."
Evans added that he intended no disrespect to veterans of the U.S. military.
"I don't want to disrespect the veterans or anything. The men and women who serve this country, I'm forever indebted to them," said the player.
"But the things that's been going on in America lately, I'm not going to stand for that."