The NFL players who protested the national anthem this season said Sunday they’re disappointed the anthem controversy hasn’t escalated into something more serious.
“I feel like there are still a lot of unanswered questions that have been raised about our national anthem policy, and I think there are some things that need to be clarified,” New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said in an interview on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“So we’ve got to continue to work with our leadership to get things right, but we’re still looking forward to the season, and we’re definitely going to continue the process and be the best that we can be.”
He said he wants to be a leader in the locker room and the NFL will “continue to be very good stewards of our sport, but also the values that we hold dear.”
Players who participated in the protest this season include Gronkowski, who said Sunday he doesn’t agree with the way the anthem has been used.
The New England quarterback said he and the other players decided to “stand up for the anthem” because they believe it represents “true American values.”
“When we were going through that process, we didn’t have the same level of trust that we had now, so we knew we could not continue to do it the same way,” he said.
“We had to make that decision to not continue doing it the way we did.”
Gronkowski, whose name was on the NFL’s “Respect The Flag” and “Black Lives Matter” shirts that are displayed on his jersey during the anthem, said that while he’s disappointed the issue hasn’t been resolved, he doesn’s still hopeful the anthem issue can be resolved.
“There are still so many questions out there that are still unanswered,” he added.
“I know we’re not going to get answers, but at the same time, it’s not something we’re trying to solve.
It’s something we want to work on, and it’s something that we’re willing to work through.”
Grenkowski said he’s confident that the players and the owners will reach an agreement before the end of the season.
“We’ll just have to wait and see, and hopefully we’ll get something done before the season starts,” he told ESPN.