Some New England Patriots players are explaining their decisions to kneel or stand and link arms during the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game at Gillette Stadium.
Players turned out Monday in Dedham, Massachusetts for the Mayo Bowl, a charity bowling event hosted by running back James White.
White, whose father is a police officer, said his dad supports everything he does and said for him, taking a knee Sunday was about raising awareness.
"We definitely have respect for the military — they’re the bravest people in the world, we’re nothing compared to them," White said. "There is no disrespect. We’re trying to raise awareness against police brutality and racial inequality."
Devin McCourty, a Patriots team captain, said when he was on a bent knee Sunday, he thought about a story he read out of New Hampshire where a mom said her 8-year-old was attacked and it may have been racially motivated.
"He was hanging from a tree. I think about that when I go out there," McCourty said. "My little bit of courage on Sunday taking a knee — as much as that kid having to get up, go to school and having to go on the rest of his life," said McCourty.
There were several players who didn't kneel but linked arms instead like quarterback Tom Brady. He stood with Phillip Dorsett, who says kneeling was "just not me."
Dorsett, however, said he supports everyone who did.
"We’re with everybody. For things to change, we're going to show, it's a powerful message around the NFL," said Dorsett. "You gotta show basically what we’re about, that we’re unified as an organization and the NFL, that we’re all brothers."
John Newman, a Patriots fan who attended Sunday's game, said he can't get behind the protest. He added that he was one of many who booed players during the anthem.
"I'm gonna go back to Jerry Jones last year when he quoted that, 'If you do not honor, respect what we're doing,' — I think Mr. Kraft should have that same opinion," Newman said.
Fan Paul Beaudette, of Rhode Island, said he found the protest disrespectful.
"I wasn't crazy about it. As far as I'm concerned, I honor the flag and the national anthem," said Patriots fan Paul Beaudette. "One small two-minute thing you can do for your country."