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Chuck Pagano on players kneeling for national anthem: “We get to choose”

Philadelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In recent weeks, a big topic of discussion in the NFL has been about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem, and other players have since joined in. It seems that some athletes are using their position of influence in an effort to make a change, regardless of whether you agree with the methods.

The NFL hasn’t punished players for taking a knee for the national anthem, and the Broncos last night issued a statement recognizing linebacker Brandon Marshall’s right to kneel during the anthem after he did so before Thursday’s opener.

So far, we haven’t seen any Colts player take a knee during the national anthem, and I doubt we will this Sunday on 9/11 either. But should the situation arise, head coach Chuck Pagano will understand the player’s decision.

"We live in a great country and part of living in this country is we get to choose," Pagano said today. "I’m grateful for all the men and women who have fought and gave their lives and continue to give their lives for that freedom. I had a great opportunity this past year and two years ago to travel the world with some ball players and with the military and there’s not one day that I take for granted and none of us should take for granted because in six and a half days we went around the world in a C-17 and it just made for greater appreciation for what we have and the freedom that we enjoy. Again, living in this country, we get to choose and we’re all grateful for that."

Pagano’s point is that, while he has great respect for the armed forces and military members around the world, he also recognizes that those people are fighting to preserve the freedom we have in America. So Chuck Pagano understands that if a player chooses to take a knee for the national anthem, he has a right to do so.

It’s unclear whether we’ll see any Colts player(s) join Kaepernick and others in kneeling for the national anthem anytime soon, but it sounds like Chuck Pagano would at least understand if a player decided to do so.