Evans apol­o­gizes for an­them protest

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By fred Goodall

TAMPA, fLA. >> Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers re­ceiver Mike Evans says he will not con­tinue to protest the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent by de­clin­ing to stand for the na­tional an­them be­fore games.

The third-year pro apol­o­gized Wed­nes­day to the mil­i­tary and any­one else “truly af­fected” by him not join­ing his team­mates in stand­ing on the side­line be­fore last week’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Evans stopped short of say­ing he re­gret­ted not stand­ing for the an­them on Salute To Ser­vice Day at Ray­mond James Sta­dium . He still thinks Trump’s elec­tion is not good for the coun­try, but in­stead of protest­ing he in­tends to try to im­pact the plight of mi­nori­ties in other ways.

“I know I’ve hurt a lot of peo­ple by do­ing what I did. I’m sorry to those who are truly af­fected by what I did, to those who are dis­ap­pointed in what I did, and to my team­mates,” Evans said.

Evans said Sun­day he meant no dis­re­spect to the mil­i­tary, but that he viewed the elec­tion of a busi­ness­man and re­al­ity tele­vi­sion star to the na­tion’s high­est of­fice was “not a good look for Amer­ica.”

He said re­ac­tion from fans and oth­ers on so­cial me­dia has been mixed.

“It’s what I ex­pected. Some peo­ple were sa­lut­ing me, some peo­ple were show­ing evil, and a lot of hate,” said Evans, who’s tied for the NFL lead in touch­down re­cep­tions with eight.

“I just want peo­ple to un­der­stand that you can’t just hate some­body be­cause they have dif­fer­ent be­liefs and dif­fer­ent views than you,” Evans said. “That’s the prob­lem, that’s why I did what I did. That’s what I want peo­ple to un­der­stand, you can’t just wish harm on some­body be­cause they have dif­fer­ent be­liefs than you. Ev­ery­one didn’t grow up the same.”

Evans, 23, grew up in Galve­ston, Texas. He said he will reach out to dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions and “use my voice to help mi­nori­ties,” in­clud­ing blacks, Lati­nos, women, the LGBT com­mu­nity and other “peo­ple that are in fear of Don­ald Trump and his pres­i­dency.”

“The way peo­ple grow up, it shapes the way they think and do things. I grew up in a mixed pop­u­la­tion, white, His­panic and black, and I feel all peo­ple are equal,” Evans said, adding that he wasn’t sur­prised by the crit­i­cism he’s drawn since Sun­day.

“It was the Salute to Ser­vice game, and so look­ing back on it I prob­a­bly would have done it a dif­fer­ent way,” Evans said. “But it’s done. It won’t hap­pen again. I’ll be stand­ing with my team­mates. But I will be us­ing my plat­form to bring (aware­ness).”

ALEX BRAN­DON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Tampa Buc­ca­neers wide re­ceiver Mike Evans aplo­gized Wed­nes­day for sit­ting down dur­ing the na­tional athem last week to protest the elec­tion od Don­ald Trump.

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