Mike Evans protests President-elect Donald Trump by sitting during national anthem

ByJenna Laine ESPN logo
Monday, November 14, 2016

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans sat during the national anthem before Sunday's 36-10 win over the Chicago Bears, but his reasons for not standing weren't the same as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's.

It was because Donald Trump was elected president of the United States this week.

"I'm not big on politics or anything like that, but I told myself, 'If this happens, America is not right right now,'" Evans said on Trump being elected. "I said this a long time ago -- when he ran, I thought it was a joke. The joke continues."

Evans said he respects Kaepernick's position but emphasized that his protest wasn't about the treatment of racial minorities in the United States.

"I know Kaepernick did that," Evans said. "I'm doing it for a different reason, for how a reality star can be the president. That's not a good look. ... I'm not a political person, but I have common sense and I know something is not right."

Evans did not ask his teammates for support. He heard some boos, which he expected, but his protest, for the most part, was relatively quiet. In fact, many people didn't notice. It was, however, the Bucs' annual "Salute to Service" game, which honors members of the armed forces.

"I don't want to disrespect the veterans or anything," Evans said. "The men and women that served this country -- I'm forever indebted to them. But the things that have been going on in America lately, I'm not going to stand for that."

Evans said that as long as Trump is the president-elect, he will refuse to stand, saying, "When Ashton Kutcher comes out and says, 'We've been Punk'd,' I'll stand again, but I won't stand anymore."

He added, "It's not about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or anything like that. It's just who he is. It's well-documented what he's done. I'm not going to stand for something I don't believe in. That's the end of that."

Pressed for specifics as to why he does not support Trump, Evans declined to discuss it further.

The Buccaneers released the following statement regarding Evans: "The Buccaneers are deeply committed to the military and honoring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country. We encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We also recognize every individual's constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish."

Bucs wide receiver Cecil Shorts III didn't see it, but he said he supports Evans.

"I respect his decision. [It] takes a lot to make that move. And I support him fully," said Shorts, who signed with the team in September. "That's my teammate, my new brother. I got his back."

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