ORCHARD PARK – Former Bills great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly expressed sincere disappointment Monday morning with the way Bills’ running back LeSean McCoy acted during the playing of the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against Denver.
McCoy was one of about a dozen Bills players who did not stand for the anthem, and across the field, it looked as if about half the Broncos took a knee.
However, McCoy took his protest of President Donald Trump’s acerbic comments regarding NFL players — Colin Kaepernick in particular — and their disrespecting of the American flag and the anthem a little too far according to Kelly. McCoy, didn’t just kneel, he made a demonstrative show of stretching and then jogging in place throughout almost the entire rendition of the song.
During an appearance on Buffalo radio station 97 Rock Monday, Kelly called out McCoy.
“I like LeSean McCoy, don’t get me wrong, but I totally, 100 percent disagree with what he did,” said Kelly, who joined the Bills on the sideline Sunday and stood for the anthem. “You want to kneel? Fine. But when you go and do what he did yesterday, that sort of bummed me out. And I lost a lot of respect for him.
“You want to kneel?” Kelly continued. “That’s your prerogative. I would never do that. I will always stand, thank the good Lord for everything I got. But when you disrespect the way he did and just go by his everyday duty in the National Anthem being sung? Uh-uh. I won’t go for that.”
Before appearing on radio, Kelly sent out a statement on his Instagram account Sunday night. The post read:
“Even though I’m thankful the BILLS won today, I’m really upset and sad about what’s happening. And I imagine many of you are too. I love the game of football and all that it means to the players, fans and cities across THIS country ... but with all that’s going on it’s hard. The only time I will ever take a knee is to pray and to thank the Good Lord for what he’s given me. We all have our issues. We all need to try and appreciate and understand each other and help each other and that goes for our PRESIDENT TOO. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that we need to UNITE not SEPARATE. I hope next week we can STAND, LOCK ARMS and become ONE FAMILY.”
After the game, McCoy was asked why he decided to not stand for the anthem, but he did not address his particular actions.
“The flag, the national anthem means a lot to me, to my teammates,” McCoy said. “We had a long meeting Saturday night, and I was very bothered by the comments of our president, of this country. As a president, you’re supposed to lead, and you’re supposed to bring us together. You’re supposed to lead this country. I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is just acting like a jerk, angry and upset about NFL players protesting in a peaceful manner.”