MINNEAPOLIS — New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. took his own public stance toward the NFL's pre-game playing of the national anthem.
He embraced those who helped fans celebrate it.Beckham told Sporting News he made it a point to try and shake the hand of every military member who held the giant American flag at U.S. Bank Stadium prior to Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
"The line was a little long. I didn’t know," said a laughing Beckham, who stood alongside the single-file line of soldiers as they exited the field. "I got halfway through it and I had to ask one of them, 'How many is y’all?' He said, ‘There’s a lot of us.’ I said, ‘Well, I really appreciate what y’all do.'"
Inspired by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, athletes at various levels are gesturing during the anthem by kneeling or raising a fist in the air to draw attention to social and racial issues. None of the Giants or Vikings players did during Monday night’s anthem.
Like some of his other teammates, Beckham has expressed interest in helping to affect social change. Giants players agreed, though, that they would not make any political statements during the anthem.
Beckham did wear special cleats for New York’s season-opener against Dallas to honor victims on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Having played for the Giants since 2014, Beckham Jr. understands the impact the atrocity made on the area. It also makes Beckham especially grateful for the military because, “what they do allows us to live the way that we live."
"For someone to sacrifice everything that they have for others — just the concept of it — it gives me chills," said Beckham, pointing to the goose bumps that were raised on his left arm. "I don’t even know how to explain it. They sacrifice everything. It’s unselfish.
"Whether it’s right or wrong, they do it and I appreciate it."
He showed that appreciation Monday night.
Alex Marvez | sportingnews.com | October 4, 2016