McDermott on possible player protests during season: 'We are always going to support our players'


Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott met with the media on Wednesday to wrap up the team's offseason workout program. He was asked about his players possbily kneeling or other forms of protest during the season, as well as the text messages rookie quarterback Jake Fromm sent that were revealed on social media last month.

Here's what he said on both topics:


Q: In the conversations you guys have had in the couple weeks since we last spoke with everything going on, have you guys had any sort of talks about how you'll handle if players want to protest, and to kneel or demonstrate in any way?

A: Yeah, those conversations are ongoing. I would just tell you I mean if you look back at how we've handled prior experiences, how we've handled it in the last couple of months here, that we are always going to support our players, we're always going to respect their position on things. And then we're also going to do our part in listening and trying to educate ourselves. And following it up with love, I mean that's been again, that's nothing new from me to you guys that I'm communicating, and answering your question, I think that's, that's really, to me, the right way to go about things. That's what we're all about. No hidden agendas. You know we're trying to do things the right way and it starts with respect and ends with love.


Q: Have your players reached out to you and let you know that they will be or are planning to protest and kneel during the national anthem this season?

A: No, I've had no players reach out to me and let me know at this point of their intentions to kneel or protest at this point. I'm not saying that won't happen. I'm just saying to your question at this point, that has not happened. But I want to reiterate my support of our players. I think that's important right now. We've got a lot of time between now and that first game. And so I think the best thing we can do is make sure that they know that we support them and certainly respect their position on things.


Q: If your players did come out this season, and they did want to kneel during the national anthem, is that something you can see yourself joining them in doing?

A: Yeah, I'm going to support my players. And again, we've got a long time between now and that first game, but I want you to know that I'm going to support my players.


Q: I wanted to know what went into your decision making process and how to handle everything that went on with Jake Fromm after those texts were released and what ultimately led to the decision to keep him on the roster and go about it that way.
A: You know, Jake’s situation is certainly one that we've taken very seriously. I think you've sensed that from the start. Jake did a very good job of communicating to the team on more than one occasion, and so a big piece of that was the communication piece, and that has to continue and that's the important part of it here. We know that the challenge is we're not together. And he's not together with his teammates. That would certainly help. And so I think right now it's, where do we go from here? And Jake has to continue to earn it. I think coach Daboll did a great job of explaining that in the last couple of weeks when he spoke to you guys about that he's got to earn it and listen there's going to be players that are going to be wanting to see how Jake acts and reacts in certain situations, not just on the field but off the field and that's putting a team together and bringing a team together the right way, and so they're going to have a chance to evaluate Jake not only on the field as I said but off the field and that'll be an important piece and Jake understands that and he understands that he has to earn it. As  you guys know earning it is nothing new, we've talked a lot about that. It's in our building, it's written on the wall. So, this is a case of that. He's going to have to earn it. And so, Jake, as I said before, I thought he did a good job addressing his team and so we'll see how things unfold between now and camp.

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