Atlanta Falcons: Players explain why they took a knee

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett took a knee during the National Anthem and the Atlanta Falcons defensive tackles explained why after the game

Nothing has incited more discussion this season than the protests by NFL players during the National Anthem. In Detroit this past Sunday a couple members of the Atlanta Falcons took part in this as defensive tackles Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe both knelt down as the rest of their team stood with them interlocking arms.

The interlocking arms was a common theme throughout the league in Week 3 as players showed their unity after the president of the United States called for owners to start sending players home for refusing to stand for the anthem. His request didn’t net any firings, but it led instead to players now being joined on the field by team owners.

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For the Falcons Arthur Blank was on the field, and while he was standing he supported that Poe and Jarrett decided to take a knee. After the game each explained their reasoning.

Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional their reasoning was the same as other players and centered around racial and social injustice. The players were both prompted to act thanks to the comments of the president which they called “divisive.”

One other thing of note was the players did not intend any disrespect to people in the military. Poe said as much in the following quote:

"“I know people (in the military),” Poe said according to Ledbetter. “I have girl friend who’s in the Air Force. She’s in the reserves now. I’m not disrespecting that at all. I wouldn’t disrespect her like that. At the same time, I felt it wasn’t disrespecting the flag, but I was just standing up for what I believe in.”"

The entire issue is causing a lot of division among fans and the players. It’s a hot button issue right now and the Falcons players showed on Sunday they support one another — as does their owner and head coach.