Falcons to lock arms, encourage fans to do the same

Members of the Falcons during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the game against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 24, 2017, at Ford Field in Detroit. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team will lock arms during the national anthem and will encourage the fans to do the same before they play the Bills on Sunday.

“For us, we will lock arms together during that time, and we would encourage our fans to do the same,” Quinn said Wednesday. “I think that would be kind of a nice tribute as we’re getting started. It’s an important time in our world. There are a lot of issues that are really important to talk about, and we’ll spend some time and we have as a team talking through some of those.”

Most of the Falcons, along with owner Arthur Blank, stood and locked arms during the singing of the national anthem before they played the Lions in Detroit on Sunday.

Defensive tackles Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe knelt. Several other players stood alone off to the right at attention.

“For us, you know how many things we do together as a group and that would seem appropriate for us,” Quinn said.

He expects all of the team to stand and participate. He said he spoke with Jarrett and Poe, but would not reveal if they requested that they stand or if they were ordered to stand.

“No, we don’t,” said Quinn when asked if he expects any of the Falcons to kneel. “The solidarity … and I think it’s interesting to note … by no means was it ever a protest of the anthem. This weekend was a difficult weekend that showed I’m pissed about something, or I’m upset and I want to react in a certain way.”

Quinn said he never foresaw that he would be organizing a protest as a head coach in the NFL.

“As you go through different things, sometimes there’s history that gets written right while we’re going through it, and this is one of those times,” Quinn said. “How do we handle those situations in the very best way?

“What’s fortunate is that we live in an area where civil rights had a pretty strong foundation on our country for years and years and years, and we’re really honored to be here and to be a part of this as a team … and our best way to show how solid we are is by showing everything that we do as a group.”

One of Quinn’s major projects since taking over the Falcons has been to get the team to bond. He moved lockers around and broke up the offensive and defensive players. They often refer to their closeness as “The Brotherhood.”

“You’ve heard me say that I wish the rest of the world could see our locker room, and to understand that Matt Ryan, who grew up in West Chester, Pa., and Julio Jones, who grew up in Foley, Ala., they didn’t grow up on the same block,” Quinn said. “I wish they could see how tight they are, and the friendship that they share.

“Although Matt can’t understand and hasn’t lived some of the same experiences, he wants to support players and teammates like crazy, and I really admire that about our team. We come from all walks, different spots, different groups and we recognize those differences with each other.”

The team has discussed its diversity in team meetings.

“We talked about it in the team meeting today, where I talked about Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman, who grew up in Liberty City, Fla., it couldn’t be the same, but what I can tell you is how connected they are and the love that they have for one another,” Quinn said. “I think that’s really important for the rest of the country to see how it can be, and I often have told how close this group is. . . and the way they connect on the field. It’s a real brotherhood that they have, and it’s an example of what it can be.

“I always think they provide such a unique example for so many people. I’m really proud of who they are.”

He wasn’t surprised that Poe and Jarrett knelt during the anthem as a reaction to President Donald Trump referring to NFL players who knelt as “son of bitches.”

“There was a lot of people that felt a certain way over the weekend, and that’s OK,” Quinn said. “It’s OK to have those feelings and have those emotions. How can we best show what we can be and provide the best example for our community in lots of ways?

“I think there were lots of ways, some real reactions this weekend, and that showed all through the country. You guys were witnesses to it, too, but the best way we generally can show that is to do it together.”

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Falcons’ run defense will get tested
Falcons have best odds to finish the season undefeated

 

Reader Comments 0

1152 comments
Travis Butler
Travis Butler

Interlocking arms is a watered down version of kneeling. NOPE! I won't watch and resent anyone who does.

Tiko Broheim
Tiko Broheim

Sad state of affairs when people are more outraged at protesting police brutality than they are the brutality itself. That's why football and entertainment are great distractions to keep the pathetic peons complacent...

Walt Greer
Walt Greer

How about you stand at attention with your hand over your heart try that.

Matt Quill
Matt Quill

Get this junk out of football. The players don't understand how badly they have ruined it. I'm a total NFL fan. I won't be watching it anymore. It's changed everything. Saddening. College football on Saturdays is it. That's that. I feel sorry for the teams that's work so hard. Especially the Falcons. I was hoping to watch them win a Superbowl. Not now.

Carl Brown
Carl Brown

Sorry I'm no longer watching you!

Shane Butler
Shane Butler

Falcons will always be below the Stars and Stripes . Y'all made a choice so I've made my choice. Bye

Joe Caricari
Joe Caricari

I'm not watching anymore until they all stop. Play ball. Period!

Sharon Red
Sharon Red

Falcon flag is down... Goodby Falcons and NFL 2017.

Garey Clark
Garey Clark

Nope Done for this year. Fishing on Sunday afternoon. No babies on the lake.

Kim Keiser-Frazer
Kim Keiser-Frazer

They should stand with helmet in left arm and right arm on their heart. We won't be watching on Sunday. \U0001f613

Bill Lackey
Bill Lackey

Don't care what the Falcon's say. Piss on them and the entire NFL.

Lee Sechler
Lee Sechler

Why don't you guys focus on the game and not the politics of a few who follow and don't lead. Perhaps you should get together with the protesters and pay for your own darn stadium.

Margaret Rawlston Torbert
Margaret Rawlston Torbert

That's nice, but proper etiquette requires standing at attention or placing your hand over your heart - not locking arms!

Kevin Landry
Kevin Landry

I wonder how much money the NFL makes from kneeling and arm locking little babies who really AREN'T making a point?

Mark Gayton
Mark Gayton

When did locking arms take the place of facing the flag with hand over heart. I stand with hand over heart . Don't need politics at a sports event . NFL should be ashamed.

Robby Dittmann
Robby Dittmann

Using the anthem to protest the protesters is just as bad as using the anthem to protest in the first place. Just stand out of respect.

Kent Millard
Kent Millard

That didn't work out for Aarons Rogers. Hope Atlanta fans have the same guts as Green Bay fans

Darla Tanner
Darla Tanner

Really. This is not what you do during the National Anthem.

Kristine Riley Ribas
Kristine Riley Ribas

They are still mad about their epic fail in the Super Bowl thanks to the #GOAT. Carry on losers

Kellie Vickers
Kellie Vickers

Locking arms sounds great Coach Quinn! Any of you Trump supporters that don't like it don't watch just that simple pretty sure the NFL won't shed a tear.

Heath Wright
Heath Wright

No more falcons after watching them for more than thirty years,,over paid entertainment.. The national anthem has nothing to do with police brutality and everything to do with the freedoms we enjoy given to us by those who have up their lives to ensure those freedoms.

Wayne Brandt
Wayne Brandt

Like little children. You try to find a way to be disrespectful without the fans recognizing what you are doing.

Lynne Brannon
Lynne Brannon

Frank Anderko for new Falcons coach. Take gutless Quinn and his locking pathetic arms off the field. HELMETS IN RIGHT HAND OVER YOUR HEARTS FACING OUR FLAG LIKE THE RULEBOOK SAYS

Lynne Brannon
Lynne Brannon

You'd better all be standing up and respect our Flag!!! I love #23 looking away from the kneelers. It's going to take me a long time to get over it. Atlanta is the hub of the whole South. You'd better all be facing our beautiful wonderful Flag.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker

You Stand and salute, period no more NFL no more Mercedes.

Bill Tygart
Bill Tygart

Wow the stink of real manhood wafts through fashionable Northside. Nothing like a good political stink to cover up the angst predatory lenders and self-aggrandizing faux pious fundementalist.

Brad Jordan
Brad Jordan

Stand and respect the flag. Stop drawing attention to yourselves. It’s about the flag, our country and our freedom. Not your personal political agenda. Show unity by standing in respect. Drop the locking arms crap.

murfdawg
murfdawg

Either honor our flag and our national anthem or don't. But don't try to bu ll$h it those of us who do. FOOLS.

John McEntyre
John McEntyre

Want unity? Honor the flag. I’ll not be watching.

J Fred Stansell
J Fred Stansell

Here's hoping the NFL chokes and dies a painful but short death so we are not exposed to the vapid sanctimony of the millionaires

James Smith
James Smith

Done with thefalcons, you disrespect cannot be excused away

Herman Moore
Herman Moore

What do you expect out of a bunch of losers they were given the super bowl and didn’t know what to do so they gave it back. If they had backbone they would honor the American flag 🇺🇸.

Jerry Jet Hoagland
Jerry Jet Hoagland

Who Cares? You've already screwed it up for everybody this year. Play freakin football.The NFL is trying to use football as a platform to politics! And disgracing the USA National Anthem with your greed! Trying to make it something it's not. Shame on you NFL! Shame on You! I'm done.

Danny Turner
Danny Turner

we want you to play football not tell us how to live our life

Rodney Denney
Rodney Denney

Per the NFL rules and that standard Rules .. You place your hand over your heart .. What a moron.. Well no problem i wont be watching you or any other NFL team. Good luck with your pay cuts that will be coming shortly.

Beverly B Fanning
Beverly B Fanning

Sick of everyone fighting. Go to the game or not! Watch or not! I'm not going to let anyone take the joy out of something I enjoy and I'm very patriotic.

Bill Straub
Bill Straub

Nope! Hoping for plenty of empty seats...