Just because they play football in Canada, doesn’t mean the Roughriders aren’t seeing what’s happening in America right now.
Nearly the entire Roughrider team linked arms during the Canadian national anthem to show support for NFL football players who were called out by President Donald Trump for kneeling during the anthem in a speech earlier this week.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” Trump said to loud applause.
“I just know we live in a world that’s really messed up right now,” Riders defensive back Ed Gainey said. “It’s just sad to even think that that would come out of our president’s mouth.”
“I feel like it’s ignorant, really ignorant to have somebody in that authority, that position as being the President of the United States to say stuff like that about anyone,” added linebacker Otha Foster who just returned from a stint in the NFL.
In fact, the comments didn’t sit well with many of the Roughriders, who despite playing in football in Canada for half the year, return home to the United States for the off-season.
“Everybody’s got family members or friends back home that play in the other league, some guys have played in that league before too, so it was just a sign of unity, that we’re together,” explained Kevin Glenn. “Sometimes people don’t understand that we have to go back to that kind of stuff, we are here for six months but we have to go back to that and that’s why we did it.”
Offensive lineman Derek Dennis said there wasn’t even a mention of kneeling during the anthem because the players have no problems with Canada.
“That wasn’t necessary. We all have the opportunity to play in a great country like Canada. We didn’t want to disrespect the Canadian flag or the Canadian Armed Forces because this country has been wonderful. For a lot of us if it wasn’t for the CFL we wouldn’t have the opportunity to play professional football,” Dennis said.
But it was still important for them to send a message of support back home.
“A lot of us who locked arms were American, African American, so we understand exactly what’s going on back home” he added. “We just wanted to show that just because we’re north of the board we’re not blind to what’s going on.”