Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is ending his protest of the election of Donald Trump as president, saying that he planned to look for “more effective ways to communicate” his message.
Evans drew heavy criticism for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem Sunday. Although Colin Kaepernick and athletes in the NFL and elsewhere chose to protest racial injustice and police violence against blacks, Evans’s gesture on the first Sunday after the election was focused on Trump’s ascendance. On Tuesday, though, he said he planned to stand.
“I will not sit again during the national anthem because I want to focus my efforts on finding more effective ways to communicate my message and bring about change by supporting organizations and movements that fight for equal rights for minorities,” Evans said in a statement. “This Sunday, I will be back to standing with my teammates.”
Evans’s protest also happened to fall on the Sunday on which NFL teams pay tribute to members of the military, with Veterans Day falling on Friday. Evans was clear about the target of his protest.
“I want to start by apologizing to all the U.S. military members, their families and the fans who I offended by my actions on Sunday,” his statement said. “It was never my intention as I have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve our country.”
Evans, 23, drew criticism for saying that he didn’t vote even as he called Trump a “joke.”
“I have very strong emotions regarding some of the many issues that exist in our society today,” Evans’s statement said. “I chose to sit as an expression of my frustration towards this year’s election. It was very personal to me, as it was for so many Americans.”
On Sunday, Evans had explained to reporters that Trump’s election means “America’s not right right now. “I said this along time ago,” he added (via the Houston Chronicle). “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. And I know when something’s not right.”