Contrary to what was being seen by many at pro football games, there was no protest by the St. Louis Cardinal when the national anthem was played preceding Sunday’s game.
All the players who desired to take part in Mike Matheny’s foul-line stand were all on the foul line along with those form Clint Hurdle’s team. All were standing.
Matheny fines players a “nominal’ amount that is then donated to charity if the players don’t come out for the anthem. But, frankly, he hasn’t had any issues with his players wanting to protest.
“If guys don’t want to come out for the anthem, they don’t come out,” said Matheny.
When asked what he would do if one of his players knelt during the anthem, Matheny explained that his players could choose to do or say whatever they desired.
“It’s a tough topic,” he said. “Unfortunately, what our president (Donald Trump) said hurt a lot of people. Those are American citizens that have rights. Some of those are athletes and they’re going to have ideas about how they can defend those rights. And I get that.
“When we get into these situations, I can never put myself into somebody else’s shoes and circumstances of how they think about different topics. But, if people are offended and infringed on in this country, we have a voice. As far as what our guys do, I’m going to support our players individually,” said Matheny, who said he didn’t see the issue as “patriotism.
“I have such a great respect for our military and for the leaders of our country, that’s what the anthem has meant to me, personally,” he said. “I’ll continue to salute the flag with my hand over the heart because I believe in the bigger picture of what our country stands for. I also understand that this is a tough topic for a lot of people and they need to respond how they feel best.”
Matheny’s team hasn’t chosen any sort of protest and he said, “I can’t count the number of comments when our guys stand out here and we’re so well represented.
“Most of them are veterans, guys who have sacrificed for our country,” said Matheny, who said he had two grandfathers who served and whom he doesn’t want to disrespect.
“I believe our ownership has said the same thing,” said Matheny. “They appreciate the fact that our guys do respectfully stand out there for our anthem and for our flag. But this is a different issue.”
When the topic of abolishing the anthem before a game was brought up, Matheny said, “I would hope not.”
In the big picture, he said, “People in leadership positions make mistakes. They say things all the time. I’m cautious every time I come out here that I’m going to say something that somehow offends our organization and doesn’t represent us well and I can’t imagine the pressure with things that really matter. Sometimes, something is said the wrong way, and I don’t know if that’s the case, but unfortunately, this has caused an issue in our country and in sports because athletes have a voice.”