Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long is one of the most outspoken and opinionated players in the NFL, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that he has decided to weigh in on one of the game’s biggest controversies.
That controversy is swirling around San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has ignited a firestorm over his decision not to stand during the national anthem before games. Numerous NFL players and coaches have weighed in on the matter, and Long has now joined that chorus.
"I will always stand for the national anthem," Long tweeted. "I will also acknowledge the fact that racism is real. People deal with it every day. It's wrong."
Kaepernick says that his decision not to stand for the anthem comes because of racial injustice in the United States, and that he will continue to sit on the bench during the song until he feels sufficient progress has been made toward making the US a more racially equitable country.
Not everyone agrees with Kaepernick’s stance. Players such as Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins both have said publicly that they agree that Kaepernick has the right to make his protest, but that they would prefer more concrete action in the community in this situation.
There are players that are supporting Kaepernick as well. According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, he received numerous texts from players in favor of Kaepernick.