As players across sports continue to show their outrage over the death of George Floyd, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters Tuesday that he would support his players if they wanted to make an on-field demonstration this season.
McVay also reportedly held off on endorsing the Rams signing Colin Kaepernick, saying the team would approach the decision based on football factors (in contrast to how the league handled the quarterback in the past).
McVay said he would support players if they want to demonstrate on the field. Asked if he would support signing Colin Kaepernick if the #Rams need a backup QB, the coach said the team would make a decision like that based on football factors. 2/5— Kevin Modesti (@KevinModesti) June 2, 2020
Such a protest wouldn’t be unprecedented in Rams history, as the team saw a notable demonstration against police brutality when it was still in St. Louis.
Five Rams players created a stir in 2014 when they protested the death of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson by walking onto the field with a “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. The St. Louis police officers union demanded an apology for the demonstration and received a statement of regret for the perceived disrespect from a Rams official. The NFL declined to discipline anyone for the protest.
McVay’s experience with on-field protests goes back to his rookie year in 2017, when Rams veteran Robert Quinn wanted to make a demonstration for social justice during the national anthem. The coach insisted Quinn stand for the anthem, but did not discourage him from raising his fist.
On Tuesday, McVay was open with his thoughts on the topic and his communications with players, saying he appreciated their perspectives on a topic in which he has little experience.
After Sean McVay’s opening statement (full below), he added that he wished he had been asking questions about race and systemic oppression sooner. Hearing players’ own experiences and feeling the grief of some has caused him to self-evaluate how he can continue the conversation. pic.twitter.com/LQ5tYB8gFo— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) June 2, 2020
NFL teams seem to be facing a wave of protests similar to the 2014 Rams going into this season, and how each of them respond will be revealing. Several of the league’s team owners have remained silent on the death of Floyd in police custody, while others like Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti have announced real steps taken for social justice.
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