While many NFL players, coaches and league officials have joined a movement to dishonor the country that has made them all wealthy by kneeling during the national anthem, not everyone is onboard with the idea.
Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula said she respects the rights of those who will protest the flag in the name of perceived systemic racial bias in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, but she will not be joining them.
“So the flag for me is very profound,” she said on the show Friday. “For me to stand for the flag and for the anthem, for me personally, that is a right that I now so much appreciate.
“Personally, I’m not going to kneel.”
Pegula said that “we’ve all been listening. We’ve been learning to love other people and understand experiences and what they have gone through, what they’ve experienced, and what maybe the anthem or the flag means to them is truly different than what I went through.”
While she said she is “listening” to those who believe the deck is stacked against minority Americans, she will be standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Honestly, that’s how I feel. I will be standing, but that’s my choice. That’s my right. I would hope that the players as well respect that, just like I’m going to respect them for what they want to do if they so choose to,” Pegula said.
“I think and I would hope that our players or anybody would understand that if I’m standing, that does not mean I am … for racism,” she added.
“Certainly, it’s not. And the same goes for our players. If they choose to kneel, or whoever wants to protest, I don’t think it’s because they don’t love the country or they don’t respect our military or any of that,” Pegula said.
She and her husband, Terry, purchased the Bills in 2014.
Business Insider described her journey from immigrant adoptee to naturalized citizen and NFL owner as “a true rags-to-riches tale.”
Abandoned on a South Korean street and adopted by Canadians, Pegula was raised in New York, entered the world of business and married Terry, and together they have earned billions.
That experience clearly shaped her view of this country, and it contrasts with those of many current and former NFL players.
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
Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre told TMZ Sports over the weekend that he likens Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to Pat Tillman’s sacrifice on the battlefield.
Tillman, of course, left the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals to fight in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was killed in action.
“I can only think of — right off the top of my head — Pat Tillman’s another guy who did something similar, and we regard him as a hero,” Favre said.
“So I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well,” he said.
While NFL stars have made millions of dollars from fans in a country they have now written off as racist, an immigrant with fresh eyes apparently appreciates America as a place of opportunity for all.
As the NFL prepares to collectively insult the American flag and many of its own fans — and to dishonor the memory of Tillman — by kneeling during a time meant to honor this country and those who have served under the flag, Pegula will stand.
But who will be watching?
A campaign to boycott the NFL on Twitter started earlier this month, and it continues to pick up steam.
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