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Jacksonville Jaguars players have largely shown support for protesters since last week’s killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in broad daylight. But former defensive back Peyton Thompson spoke up this morning tweeting out that head coach Doug Marrone and then EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin instructed players not to kneel, presumably referring to the 2017 season when Thompson was on the team and Coughlin was still in charge.
“The statement issued by the NFL is complete trash. I specifically remember Tom Coughlin and Doug [Marrone] telling us we couldn’t kneel. Thank God we had an owner of minority who weighed in and got us to kneel together! My job security was on the line if I supported my people.”
The statement issued by the @nfl is complete trash. I specifically remember Tom Coughlin and Doug Marone telling us we couldn't kneel. Thank God we had an owner of minority who weighed in and got us to kneel together! My job security was on the line if I supported my people.— Peyton Thompson (@tattedNspatted) June 1, 2020
Leading up to the 2017 season, the Jaguars had not had a player kneel in protest of police brutality and in support of criminal justice reform. That was until late September when President Donald Trump called on team owners to fire protesters, saying they would gain notoriety for doing so.
During their next game, players kneeled in London in response to Trump’s comments and in solidarity with what was becoming an increasingly public criminal justice problem in this country.
It would be interesting to know exactly when Marrone and Coughlin’s edict that players not kneel happened or if it was simply a top-down order from the front office that the coaching staff carried out despite their disagreement. All that said, it doesn’t matter the timing or circumstances — it’s damning for Marrone the coach and person.