ALAMEDA – Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Monday he’s never had any issues with players not standing during the national anthem but considers it an organizational expectation.
“It’s never come to a point where I’ve had to address it, it’s always been understood,” Del Rio said. “You stand attention. You pay respect to our flag, our country. That’s always been kind of an assumed thing.”
The national anthem debate has swarmed the NFL since Friday when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick detailed his reasons for sitting during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” which he’s done for all three preseason games this year.
Kaepernick is doing so as a way to protest social inequality in America and Del Rio, while recognizing the right to do so, said the Raiders prefer those stances be taken up in different forums.
“In America, as individuals, we all have freedoms and that’s one of the things that makes our country great,” Del Rio said. “For us, I think it’s more about recognizing that you’re part of an organization. You’re representing our organization and our organization believes that you should pay respect to the flag. Save those individual decisions to express yourself for an individual forum.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr called Kaepernick “a great guy” with whom he’s had a good relationship and exchanged texts and phone calls with over the offseason. While supporting his right to do as he pleases, Carr said he will always stand during the anthem.
“Obviously we all have the freedom to do as we choose and that’s just the way he’s choosing to do certain things,” Carr said.
“For me, I’ve had some family that were in the military and I’ll always stand and just respect it. But if he wants to do it a certain way, he has that right to choose what he wants to do. Whether people agree or not, he doesn’t care, he’s standing up for something he believes, but for me, I’ll stand.”