SAN ANTONIO — After several months of kneeling during the national anthem, New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma has taken a stand against racism and oppression.
The Saints, who have won three of the last four Super Bowls, won’t have to make a change on the field this season, but they will be taking a stand when they return to the field on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
“The players and the coaches, I’ve seen enough, and I don’t think that’s going to change,” Vilma said.
“I don’t feel like that’s what the league wants to do.
I don`t want to be a part of that.
I just want to go out there and do my job and be a good football player.
We all know the game.
Thats what we’re here for.
We play for the game.”
Vilma, who is black, made his comments during a teleconference on Wednesday with his wife, Julie, who was there with him.
They were at the team’s hotel in Las Vegas, where the Vilmas and their two sons were staying, and Vilma’s father, David, had dinner with the family.
“We all knew that this is what the NFL wants to see,” Vilmas said.
But he said he’s taking the opportunity to speak out now.
“What I see is people taking sides, and the fact that you dont want to get involved with that doesn’t make sense,” VilMA said.
“It doesnt make sense to me that we are having a conversation about the things that are happening, but we are, and thats what this is about.
And if I see anything that is wrong with it, I am going to speak up about it.”
Vilma said he understands the NFL and the league’s rules on players not participating in the anthem.
He also said he believes the players who kneeled before the national flag are not taking the same stance that he is.
“As far as me not being involved in that, well I have to do what is right for the team,” Vilmo said.
Vilma had been outspoken on social media earlier this year about the issues facing black people and the country, and on Wednesday he addressed his comments in a Facebook post.
“This is what I do,” he wrote.
” I am a good man.
I am my family.
I have loved ones who are in the system that they dont have the right to be where they are.
But I dont believe that that is something that should be going on. “
So I stand up for them, I stand for what is best for my family and the people that live in my neighborhood.
That is not what is important.” “
Thats not what I believe.
That is not what is important.”
A spokesman for the NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The team is scheduled to leave for the first of two preseason games on Monday.