Doug Pederson Addresses Eagles Possible Anthem Protests

Doug Pederson

Getty Eagles head coach Doug Pederson exited the NFL Draft with a ton of shiny new weapons on offense.

The way the Eagles and Doug Pederson handle possible on-field protests this year is the elephant in the room. No one is sure what to expect and how fans might react.

What we do know for a fact is that the players have every right to protest — and are completely justified in exercising their freedom of expression — in the name of social justice reform and systemic racism. Rodney McLeod has already indicated he expects some kind of peaceful demonstration to happen. Whether it will be a prideful fist in the air or kneeling down for the national anthem remains anyone’s guess.

Pederson had remained mum on the subject in recent days, although he has been quite public with his opinion on standing up for the flag over the years. On Tuesday morning, the head coach revealed his true feelings on the matter by saying he supports his players and encourages open dialogue on racial issues.

“One of the things about being the head football coach, we’re going to continue to have discussions in every area,” Pederson told reporters. “Not only with social injustice, but the anthem, with anything that comes up. And that’s one of the things that I think, going into my fifth year with this football team, we’ve been able to have dialogue and conversation.”

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Pederson Stops Short of Saying He’ll Kneel Down

While some NFL coaches, namely the Texans’ Bill O’Brien, have pledged to drop a knee with their players this fall, Pederson stopped short of promising that. However, the 52-year-old said he unequivocally supports his players and their right to “peacefully demonstrate.”

“I support players that demonstrate peacefully. I support our players and we are going to have these discussions once we get into camp,” Pederson told reporters. “One of the things, as a head football coach, is to have discussions in every area, and social injustice is one of those areas.”

Pederson added that “nothing has been determined” in terms of what the Eagles might do to protest as a team. Several players have expressed interest in doing something. He has talked about being in favor of a team-wide demonstration going all the way back to 2016. That was the first time Colin Kaepernick took a knee.

“If it was team-wide, if they wanted to do something team-wide, I’d definitely be for that,” Pederson said in September 2016, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think it shows unity and there’s no division that way, and I think it sends a great message that from our standpoint, the National Football League and the platform and the individuals, we love this country and what it represents and the flag and the national anthem and everything.”

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