Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen has dropped to his knee at the end of the national anthem since his rookie season in 2012. So when he offered his customary pregame prayer Sunday night, he never imagined the furor it would cause.
The action that was misinterpreted as part of a protest movement started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick created such a firestorm on social media that Allen and the Indianapolis Colts released a video Tuesday explaining what had happened.
In the video, some of the hateful comments Allen received on social media were superimposed on the screen as Allen explained that he loves America and only wants this world to be a better place before vowing to continue praying on the sideline.
On Wednesday, Allen hobbled into the locker room on crutches and then went even further by explaining he doesn’t know Kaepernick or some of the other players who have been protesting police treatment of minorities. He criticized those who use vitriol, hyperbole and racial comments cloaked in the name of patriotism.
“I was not protesting, I was praying,” Allen said. “Whether I was protesting or not, it doesn’t give the right for others to use those words of hate. If you want to show patriotism, show patriotism, have pride about this great nation, show your love and devotion about this great nation. Don’t use words of hate to try to show harm to someone else.”
But Allen, who has been active in helping victims of domestic violence and won the Colts’ man of the year award last season, also defended their right to speak out and acknowledged he would like to help them spread the message about inequality in America.
“I’ve wanted to shed the light on that issue and hopefully we as a great nation we can come to a place where we all say enough and we gather together and we say we do have the ability to show what true patriotism is and that’s what we’re going to do instead of sharing hate,” Allen said.