NFL star J.J. Watt suggested in a tweet posted Saturday that he will kneel for the playing of the national anthem during Houston Texans games, becoming part of a protest started back in 2016 by then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
According to Watt, taking a knee during the anthem is not about “disrespecting the flag or our military,” though past polling on the divisive protest suggests many Americans likely disagree.
Following an interview wherein Texans head coach Bill O’Brien made it clear he will be kneeling for the anthem this coming season, a seeming fan of Watt’s posted a message saying he was “pretty sure” the defensive end would not be participating, adding American flag emojis.
“A) don’t speak for me,” Watt responded to the now-deleted tweet. “B) if you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening.”
A) don’t speak for me
B) if you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening https://t.co/tnsEq5D9WC
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 13, 2020
Earlier this month, Watt attended the funeral for George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise Church. Floyd, a Houston native, died after a police officer had his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for over eight minutes during an arrest, according to viral video footage.
Kaepernick began protesting during the national anthem right after his playing time started dwindling “because America ‘oppresses’ minorities and allows its cops to ‘murder’ innocent people of color.”
“People of color have been targeted by police,” the athlete said in 2016, as reported by The Daily Wire. “So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher. You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist.”
The controversial activist, now sponsored by Nike, also wore socks at practice in 2016 that depicted police officers as pigs.
“I wore these socks, in the past, because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust,” Kaepernick wrote in a post defending the “pig cops” socks on Instagram.
As noted by Mediaite, while Watt did not kneel for the anthem back in 2016, he did tell ESPN, “I think everybody can do what they choose to do. Everybody can form their own opinion on how they want to do it. That’s just what we chose to do. Everybody’s different, everybody has their own opinions, and that’s what we chose to do.”