Panthers’ coach considers kneeling during national anthem

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, Carolina Panthers NFL football team head coach Matt...
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, Carolina Panthers NFL football team head coach Matt Rhule talks to the media during a news conference at the teams practice facility in Charlotte, N.C. The transition from being a head coach in college to the NFL is never easy. But it's even more difficult this year for Panthers coach Matt Rhule, who is trying to build a team and some sense of chemistry virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)(WITN)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 4:34 PM EDT
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By STEVE REED, Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he’s considering kneeling alongside his players during the national anthem this season in support of the movement against racial injustice.

“I would consider anything as we move forward,” Rhule said Thursday on a Zoom conference call. “I’m supportive of the cause. I’m supportive of the movement. I’m supportive of social justice. I think for every person, coach or player, that will be a very personal decision. I think it has to be made at the right time and the right reason for everybody.”

The first-year coach hired from Baylor previously has told his players that he will support them for expressing their views about social injustice.

“I will support my players with whatever they do and then when the time comes I will really think deeply about what is the best thing for me and what is the best way I can show my support,” Rhule said.

In 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. His ex-teammate Eric Reid kneeled alongside him and later played for the Panthers. Both players reached settlements with the NFL after filing grievances alleging owners colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien previously has said he will take a knee alongside his players during the national anthem.

Rhule, who like O’Brien is white, said he will confer with his players before making any decision about whether to kneel.

“I think a lot of this has come from the players so I will wait to see what direction they are leaning, and then I will make my decision,” Rhule said.

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