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Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule: I'd consider kneeling with players
Backs athletes' actions in pursuit of social justice
 
Published Friday, June 26, 2020 9:01 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | CAROLINA PANTHERS
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said he supports his players' advocacy for social justice and is open to kneeling during the national anthem to show support.

Don’t rule out Panthers head coach Matt Rhule kneeling during the national anthem.

Some wondered if safety Eric Reid’s departure in the offseason signaled the type of culture Rhule was would foster in his first season leading an NFL team. Instead, Rhule encouraged players to speak out about social injustice and use their platforms for change, including partaking in protests, which safety Tre Boston, linebackers Shaq Thompson and Andre Smith, as well as tight ends Chris Manhertz and Ian Thomas did.

“A lot of this has come from the players,” Rhule said. “I’ll wait and see which direction they’re leaning and make my decisions.”

That includes kneeling as a show of support for racial justice in response to the May killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minnesota police. In the NFL, players are no longer silent and turning to activism in a league that exiled former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for peacefully protesting against police brutality four years ago. Reid, who knelt alongside Kaepernick with the 49ers and continued in Carolina, is unsigned.

“I would consider anything as we move forward,” Rhule said. “I’m supportive of the cause. I’m supportive of the movement. I’m supportive of social justice.”

Rhule, who was hired by the Panthers in January, considers it a personal decision for all involved to express themselves as the nation reckons with racism in all facets of life.

“It would have to be made at the right time for the right reasons for everybody,” he said. “I’ll support my players with whatever they do, and when the time comes, I’ll really think deeply about, ‘hey, what’s the best the best thing for me—what’s the best way I can show my support?’ Make no mistake, I’m definitely supportive.”

Rookies are scheduled to report to training camp on July 21, quarterbacks and rehabbed players arrive on July 23 and veterans on July 28.

 

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