Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Media personality Michael Strahan at the 2017 NFC Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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Strahan On NFL Anthem Debate: I Would Have Kneeled

Former Giant Is Son Of Retired US Army Major

September 11, 2018 - 2:42 pm
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By WFAN.com

Giants great Michael Strahan has chosen a side in the NFL national anthem kneeling debate.

The Hall of Fame defensive end told "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Monday that he would kneel during the anthem if he were an active player.

Strahan was asked, “If you were still playing football today, do you think you would take a knee, or what do you think you’d do?”

"I think I would have (kneeled)," Strahan responded. “I would have had a conversation with my dad, and based on that conversation, and conversations, I’ve had with him, I’m pretty sure I would have.

“When my father, who’s 81, can look at me and tell me that he’s not offended by it because he understands, then how could I who didn’t do that service be offended?”

Strahan grew up in a military family. His father, Gene, is a retired U.S. Army major. The seven-time Pro Bowler believes that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's stance was not meant to be disrespectful of “anybody in the armed services.”

“One of the things you can do in this country is you can protest, and he’s protesting injustices that he sees happening," Strahan said. "And I take my hat off to him because he really did sacrifice and put so much on the line for other people that he had no idea who they were. He’s never met them, does not know them, and he put his whole life and career on the line.”

MORE: Hartnett: Kaepernick Saga Only Latest Example Of Sports, Politics Intersecting

A national debate has been reignited after Nike began a new ad campaign featuring Kaepernick. The campaign's slogan is: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Strahan pointed to the divide between players and owners as a reason why President Donald Trump and others have confused the intention of the protests.

“I would have been more proactive in getting it more organized,” Strahan said. “Football, there seems to be a fracture between player and ownership, and they need to get that together in order to get the message out there in the right way and not letting the message become hijacked and turned into something it was never intended to be.”

No members of the Giants kneeled during the anthem in Sunday’s 20-15 loss to the Jaguars. Safety Michael Thomas, who protested last season when he played for the Miami Dolphins, remained on his feet. Linebacker Olivier Vernon, who is currently injured, also protested last year.