Philadelphia Eagles

Not sticking to sports, Charlottesville native Chris Long feels responsibility to speak out

Not sticking to sports, Charlottesville native Chris Long feels responsibility to speak out

Eagles defensive end Chris Long is from Charlottesville, Virginia. It's where he went to high school and college. He feels a responsibility to speak out about the crisis in his hometown. 

And he’s not sticking to sports.

On Saturday, the 32-year-old spoke out publicly, via Twitter, against the white nationalists holding the rally and President Donald Trump's response, which condemned "violence on many sides." 

"Some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to stick to football but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy because I think I am," Long said Sunday. "I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other. For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."

Long, who went to St. Anne's-Belfield School before attending the University of Virginia — both in Charlottesville — said he'd "be willing to bet that the vast majority of people voicing those white supremacist sentiments were from out of town." 

He thinks the majority of the folks trying to stop them were either from the town or students. 

"So it's disheartening but I really think it's desperation for those folks that feel threatened by us doing the right thing," he said.  

The "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville began when the decision was made to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. The rally was met by counter-protesters and the scene turned extremely violent. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. 

Long said he is "all for free speech" but said he finds those opinions to be "despicable." 

Football has given Long a chance to perhaps see the world differently than he ever would have. He spoke Sunday about how much the locker room has molded him. 

"I wish everybody would have a chance to be on a team," he said. "I really do believe, it might be cliché, but we come from a lot of different walks of life and backgrounds and I've played with a lot of guys I probably would have never met in other walks of life. We sit here in a bubble in a really positive way. I wish the rest of the world could be on a team. I know that sounds kind of cliché but we get to really be exposed to each other's different cultures, different ways of life and the way we look at different things. And I think that's the really cool thing about being on a team."

National Anthem Notebook: Steelers stay in locker room; players take knees

National Anthem Notebook: Steelers stay in locker room; players take knees


NFL to re-air unity ad
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a tweet that the league will re-air a unity television advertisement Sunday night that it first ran during February's Super Bowl.

The one-minute spot called "Inside These Lines," will be shown during the Sunday night game between the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

Over images and video of NFL players embracing one another on the field, the narrator says "Inside these lines, we don't have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination."

Goodell said that President's Trump's remarks about the NFL demonstrated "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL."


Steelers stay in locker room for anthem
The Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to stay in their locker room for the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears, coach Mike Tomlin has told CBS.

The move was apparently in reaction to President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners fire players who kneel for the national anthem.

Several players from the Jaguars and Ravens decided to kneel in the first NFL game of the day in London. Then Tomlin said his players would not be on the sideline at Soldier Field in Chicago for the anthem.


Tagliabue lashes out at Trump
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue called President Donald Trump's comments on NFL players "insulting and disgraceful."

Tagliabue, who was in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a guest of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, spoke to the media before Carolina's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"For me to single out any particular group of players and call them SOB's, to me, that is insulting and disgraceful," Tagliabue said. "So I think the players deserve credit for what they do. And when it comes to speech they are entitled to speak. And we are entitled to listen. We are entitled to agree or disagree. But we're not entitled to shut anybody's speech down. Sometimes you don't like what you hear and that is true in life in lots of contexts, but you can't shut people down and be disgraceful when you are doing it."

Richardson is not making a statement on the Trump's remarks, per team spokesman Steven Drummond.


Dolphins players support Kaepernick
A handful of Miami Dolphins players are wearing black T-shirts supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick during pregame warm-ups.

The shirts have "(hash)IMWITHKAP" written in bold white lettering on the front.

Kaepernick was the first athlete to refuse to stand during the national anthem as a protest. This season, no team has signed him, and some supporters believe NFL owners are avoiding him because of the controversy.

Among the players sporting the shirts before their game against the New York Jets are wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Jay Ajayi and offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James. Stills, also a team captain, posted a photo on Twitter of himself wearing the shirt , along with the post: "In case you didn't know!"


Bills fans speak out
Outside the Buffalo Bills' New Era Field, fans were tailgating as normal with no signs of protests or indications of support.

Last season, vendors here sold anti-Colin Kaepernick jerseys -- including one with him pictured in the crosshairs of a target -- before the San Francisco 49ers game at Orchard Park on Oct. 16. Kaepernick was jeered once the game began.

Kaepernick was the first player to refuse to stand during the national anthem.

"If they do this as a whole team, I will want my money back as a season-ticket holder and I'll never come back to a game again," fan Mike Ragyna said when asked about the prospect of players protesting during the anthem.

"There's no reason they can't stand for the national anthem and get up on a soapbox afterward and do it then," Ragyna said.


Jags owner stands with players
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan calls it a privilege to stand arm-in-arm with players during the national anthem in London.

Khan stood between tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith at Wembley Stadium and then released a statement to express his support for players. Coaches and other team personnel from both teams did the same before the game against the Ravens.

About two dozen players on both teams kneeled, something President Donald Trump has said owners should fire players for.

"It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium," Khan said. "I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem."


Treasury Secretary defends Trump
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is defending President Donald Trump's attacks on football players who kneel during the national anthem.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, Mnuchin says the National Football League enforces other types of rules and Trump thinks "owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem."

Mnuchin adds that "they can do free speech on their own time."

Trump suggested during a speech Friday night that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. A handful of NFL players have refused to stand to protest several issues, including police brutality.


White House responds
A White House adviser says the president lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem because he stands with Americans who want the anthem respected.

Marc Short is director of legislative affairs. He argues on NBC's "Meet the Press" that President Donald Trump believes NFL players have First Amendment rights, but that owners should have the right to fire them.

Trump seemed to disinvite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the White House because of star Stephen Curry's public opposition to him.

Asked why Trump is inflaming tensions, Short says the Warriors started it. He says players "were the ones that first went out ... and began criticizing the president."


Ravens owner supports players
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says he "100 percent" supports his players' decision to kneel during the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley.

At least seven Ravens players and more than a dozen Jaguars players took a knee during the anthem while the rest of the players stood locked arm-in-arm in an apparent response to President Donald Trump, who said this week that NFL owners should fire those who disrespected the American flag.

But the Ravens issued a statement from Bisciotti minutes after kickoff, saying: "We recognize our players' influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan stood arm-in-arm with his players during the anthem.


Ravens, Jags players kneel
About two dozen players, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the teams' game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Other players on one knee during the performance included Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb as well as Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the playing of the national anthem and "God Save The Queen," the national anthem of Britain.

No players were kneeling during the playing of the British national anthem.

President Donald Trump had a suggestion on Saturday for National Football League owners whose players decide to take a knee during the national anthem: fire them.

Eagles players, coaches, front office executives lock arms before game

Eagles players, coaches, front office executives lock arms before game

Before today's home opener, Eagles players, coaches and front office executives locked arms in a demonstration of unity.

Owner Jeff Lurie, president Don Smolenski and vice president of football operations Howie Roseman joined players on the sideline during the national anthem. 

Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who tweeted first Sunday morning, participated in a near-season-long demonstration during the national anthem last year and has continued that demonstration into this season.

His demonstration — raising his right fist — is an attempt to further a conversation about racism and social injustice in the United States.

Sunday's demonstration of locking arms is a response to President Donald Trump's comments Friday night, encouraging NFL owners to release players who protest during the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!' Trump said.

“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released a statement Saturday night to support his players' attempts to call attention to injustice (see story). While it wasn't as strong against Trump's comments as some other statements from NFL owners, Lurie has been consistent in supporting his players in this area. Jenkins, Chris Long and Torrey Smith, some of the Eagles' more outspoken players on topics of race and injustice, have said Lurie has been very supportive.

During the game in London on Sunday morning, Jaguars players and Ravens players on both sidelines locked arms during the anthem. Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined them.

Last September, when Jenkins first began his demonstration, head coach Doug Pederson said he would join in if his players held some sort of team-wide demonstration.

"If it was team-wide, if they wanted to do something team-wide, I’d definitely be for that," Pederson said last September. "I think it shows unity and there’s no division that way, and I think it sends a great message that from our standpoint, the National Football League and the platform and the individuals, we love this country and what it represents and the flag and the national anthem and everything. Listen, we’re not perfect, obviously, and for us to stand united that way, I’d go for that.”

Through the first two games of the 2017 season, Jenkins has raised his fist during the anthem, while Long and Rodney McLeod placed their arms on him in a showing of support.