Jags' Odrick defends freedom of expression for football players

Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick penned a piece in Monday Morning Quarterback defending the free expression of fellow NFL players.

"NFL players are more than the warriors you see on Sunday," he writes, "and like all Americans we should be free to express ourselves and challenge the status quo without being vilified."

He's referring to the recent controversial actions by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, his teammate Eric Reid, Seahawks' Jeremy Lane and others. Some NFL players, usually of color, have begun to kneel or sit for the National Anthem to protest racial problems in America. 

Almost instantly they all received heaps and heaps of backlash, most of it on Twitter and other social media sites, but some players were hurt in the pocketbook: Broncos' Brandon Marshall knelt for the NFL season opener against Carolina and lost multiple endorsement deals for his actions.

Despite this, he says he'll continue to kneel.

More than anything in Odrick's piece, he defends the simple right of expression for his peers.

"Social justices can't be ignored," he writes. "As Americans we've forgotten that we're supposed to loathe falling in line."

According to Odrick, a large part of the public's ire against the NFL players is because they aren't just 'falling in line' and playing football. Odrick says that there is a person behind the facemask, and that person has beliefs just like the rest of us.

He goes on to say that just because Kaepernick is kneeling does not mean it's a slight against the military.

"The notion that the flag is sacred and untouchable - or that it has pledge the same allegiance to everyone - is one of the great hypocrisies of our time," he writes.

Odrick's been in the NFL for seven years. He's played for Miami since being drafted in 2010 till 2015, when he was traded to the Jaguars.


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