BUFFALO, NY — A day removed from speaking out in support of NFL players who protest during the national anthem, Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas said Thursday that we need to "have a dialogue about moving forward as Americans."
"You can’t sit there and tell the players — and I know people do — that they are making millions of dollars so they should just sit down and shut up. That’s not gonna happen and I think this coming Sunday you will continue to see a lot of players kneel. And for me, that's something I'm looking forward to," Thomas told 2 On Your Side during a check presentation to Erie County from Batavia Downs. Thomas works as an ambassador for Batavia Downs Gaming.
Thomas received some backlash on social media following those comments.
@thurmanthomas I looked up to u, but today u disappointed me. My son is a Marine in Okinawa & is willing to die for the flag. Stand for it.— John Paul (@jpfgk11) October 12, 2017
The criticism prompted Thomas to respond.
I've made it clear that it would not have been the way I protested but I support the cause.STOP misinterpreting my words— Thurman Thomas (@thurmanthomas) October 11, 2017
Thomas sounded off further in a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday. He discussed several topics in the post, including his support for the military, veterans and how that America needs to have open dialogue "to move forward as Americans."
The entire post is below.
"After this statement, I will not discuss this topic anymore publicly nor on this feed. I respect my fans, my friends and my family and that is why I feel it necessary to send a clear message, one that reflects my true feelings. I hope that you can respect my words.
"Anyone that knows me knows that I love my country, I have a great admiration for our men and women in the military. I have traveled to Iraq as part of a USO tour to show my love and support for these brave men and women. I have been an honored and humbled guest on an F16 flight that landed on a Aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico and was completely awed by the service men and women who operate these incredible machines. I was lucky enough to have visited Veterans hospitals and meet more true American hero's. I have beloved friends and family members who have served or are serving in the military."Being an American citizen has allowed me to fulfill many of my dreams, and as Americans, our strength is in our ability to improve as a society, to right wrongs and fight against injustice. I have never, or will never forget why we have those freedoms ... because brave men and women fought and died in places all over the world and right here on American soil. Please don't let the message of inequality be obscured by the process of which it is being delivered. I understand some people are upset with NFL players kneeling during the anthem. All I ask for is that we have a dialogue about moving forward as Americans, all Americans, not black, not white, not Hispanic, not black lives matter, not all lives matter, not I stand, not I take a knee, not gay, not straight etc. but everyone. Every individual can make a difference. Be open minded in your every day life, call out injustice when you see it, most importantly love your neighbor, I will try to do the same. God bless everyone."
If you missed Thomas' comments on Wednesday, you can watch the entirety of the interview below.