In radio interview, Panthers coach Rivera addresses national anthem protest

In radio interview, Panthers coach Rivera addresses national anthem protest

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is stepping into the debate over the national anthem, player protests and the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ canceled visit to the White House.

In an interview on Chicago sports radio Tuesday, Rivera said he understands why players kneel and supports their right to do so, but believes there's a better way to get the message across and wants to get back to football.

“If we want to make statements, let's make statements at press conferences,” Rivera said. “You know, let's go to City Hall and make our statements. I think that's more important. People are going to pay attention to these guys, well, great. Let them pay attention to these guys away from the game.  I think that's what we're trying to do, get the focus back on the game.”

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Rivera believes the anthem protests have gotten a lot of attention, but now it's time to take the next step.

“OK, they've gotten people's attention. Now what are we gonna do?” Rivera said. “Are we just going to continually do that and continue getting people upset? It's time to now start doing the adult thing and that's come up with the solutions and put them into play.  That's what I think we need to do.”

Rivera also praised Panthers players for their involvement in the community, saying “That is what it's all about, getting out into the community, raising awareness and doing the things that can help.”

As for the president's decision to cancel the Eagles’ planned celebration at the White House, Rivera said it's the president's choice, and it doesn't change the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champs.