Josh Norman sounded off on President Trump’s remarks regarding NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem.
The Redskins came out with a message of unity before Sunday’s win over the Raiders, linking arms along the sideline — with some players standing, others kneeling — as the anthem played at FedEx Field.
During a senatorial campaign event in Alabama Friday, President Trump spoke on the growing list of peaceful player protests springing up across the NFL, calling for players who kneel during the anthem to be “fired,” while referring to those individual players as a “son of a bitch.”
Norman addressed Washington’s linked arms approach during a post-game interview with NBC, saying it was something “we had to do just because of the tyranny that we face behind the POTUS, you know?”
“And it’s sad that we have to go through stuff like that,” he said. “But at the end of the day, if we unite as one, nobody’s gonna divide us.”
Later, inside the Redskins locker room, Norman expounded on his position in great, emotional detail (via CSN Mid-Atlantic):
Nobody is gonna take credit for anything. I think as a man in this country, you have to stand for something or fall for nothing. You HAVE TO. And when a man calls you out like that, behind the POTUS, that’s supposed to be the president of Americans — supposed to be — calls you out like that as a group, and there’s more things going on in this world, that’s frustrating. That’s coming for you.
I’m all cool. You give people the benefit of the doubt. But when you come at that angle and that direction directly at you, nah man. One brother, you mess with one, you mess with us all. Nobody is divided in this. We was in unity. We were wanting to stand for something. I’m just telling you right now, this man’s not welcome here in Washington, D.C. He’s not.
I hope he don’t be around when I see him. He’s not welcome. I can say that to your face: ‘You’re not welcome here.’ You’re picking on the wrong people. Sorry, man, but it’s just being honest. I mean, I respect to the position — I really do — but when it gets to that point, you’re taking on 1,800 men. Grown men. They’ve got families. And we have that ability — the young people, they look up to us, so how we act is how they’re going to respond. So we doing everything peaceful.
We ain’t saying anything else, but that right there needed to be addressed. And we’re going to keep going, we’re gonna keep this moving, this momentum and we’re not gonna take away from anything. I respect the office. I respect the troops of America — my family fought in a war — and like I said before, it’s not about the flag. It’s not. It’s not about anything like that. It’s not about black and white.
It’s about what we are being faced with right now, and that’s being teared down from in the White House, behind this podium, behind the PRESIDENCY of the United States of America, something that’s free. That can’t go down. That’s just an attack against you as a man. And if you don’t stand for something, like I said, you FALL. And I’m putting myself out there: I’m standing.
I ain’t about to stand for nothing else than this. What you see right now, man. That’s just disrespectful. That’s appalling, man. He called somebody SOB! How you call somebody that? That’s their right to do! You know what I mean? Like, understand that. That’s a high position. Like, everybody in the world looks at us as the center of it, the United States. I travel overseas. Everybody, they want to be in America! And we have that running in America. Oh my gosh. I’m really tired of talking about it. I really get emotional.
I’m not about to start, because I feel like I said enough and it’s being broadcast, and I already know it, but that’s what it is, man. It really is. And I can’t say nothing more else about it. We locked arms. We did it together as unity of brothers, as a brotherhood. We’re gonna keep this moving, man, because I feel like that has to change, man, in order for us to be GREAT. Make America GREAT… It’s not.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins explained the decision to link arms as a way to present a united front, despite players not necessarily sharing the same perspective on kneeling during the anthem.
“I think that each player’s gonna do what they feel best or feel convicted to do,” Cousins told 106.7 The Fan on Monday. “So it’s hard to tell somebody what they ought to do, but I also thought it’s important to be on the same page and communicate so that there is a plan or an understanding of what we want to do as a team for those that are wanting to do something together.”
“I felt like standing was something that I always will want to do and wanted to do last night,” he said. “I think linking arms is a good way to just feel like, ‘Hey, as much as I’m gonna stand and someone else may kneel, we’re still going to try to see it from the other person’s perspective and have some form of understanding.'”
“There’s just a lot of division right now,” he said. “And I’d hate for division to cause more division, if you understand what I’m saying. I’d like for — in a time of division — to try to find ways to find common ground and find unity, and I think that was a small, subtle way of trying to do that.”