Chris Long Believes The NFL's New Rules Go Against What The National Anthem Stands For

"This is not patriotism. Don't get it confused."

Philadelphia Eagles player Chris Long disagrees with the NFL's latest decision against athletes kneeling during the national anthem, and he shared why in a powerful Twitter post earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the NFL announced new rules requiring players to stand during the national anthem, or remain in the locker room. According to ESPN, teams could face fines if players or personnel sit or kneel during the song. "We want people to be respectful of the national anthem," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

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The policy is a response to a number of NFL players taking a knee during the anthem at games to protest police brutality and racial injustice — a gesture inspired by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As Bleacher Report points out, although Chris Long has never taken part in the protest, he has supported those who do, including fellow Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins.

"This is not patriotism. Don't get it confused," Long wrote in response to the NFL's decision. "These owners don't love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it."

Long has a history of standing up for what he believes in. Last year, he announced that he would give up six games' worth of pay to fund two scholarships at his alma mater in Charlottesville, Virginia, following a violent White nationalist rally in the city. Later, he chose to donate his entire salary for the season to pay for additional scholarships in Philadelphia, Boston, and St. Louis.

"I will continue to be committed to affecting [sic] change with my platform," Long promised in his recent post, which has received tens of thousands of retweets. "I'm someone who's always looked at the anthem as a declaration of ideals, including the right to peaceful protest. Our league continues to fall short on this issue."

Long also participated in a respectful dialogue about the issue with several users, including one who asked why he can't "promote change while also standing / honoring the men & women who served our country." Long replied, "You can. I have tried to. But I wouldn't have the same platform to do so without players that shook things up." He added that the user was "assuming that the flag means the same thing to each player- which it rightfully doesn't."

Long isn't the only player speaking out. His teammate Malcolm Jenkins — who previously chose to raise a fist during the anthem — also responded to the new rules. "What NFL owners did today was thwart the players' constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country," Jenkins wrote on Twitter. "Everyone loses when voices get stifled."

Dawuane Smoot of the Jacksonville Jaguars put it simply when he tweeted, "FINE ME!!!!" He added, "I have a right as an American to protest when I feel there is injustice in this country."

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