NEW YORK (WFAN) — If Brian Billick were still coaching today, how would he handle the issue of players protesting during the national anthem?
WFAN’s Mike Francesa asked the NFL Network analyst and former Baltimore Ravens coach that question Wednesday. Billick said it was “a tough one” and that “there’s no right answer to this.”
“As a coach, regardless of whatever your personal perspective may be, you’ve got to look at this two ways: One, you have to respect the rights of the players to use their celebrity, their platform in any way that they choose to, but by the same token, the players have to respect what you want as an organization, how you want to deal with it,” Billick said. “Any time you let religion or politics into the locker room, it can be very divisive, and as a coach, strictly from a business standpoint, it’s my job to make sure that we minimize the distraction.”
Billick said an organization should make a decision of how to deal with the issue in a unified manner.
“You saw it in Dallas, whether that was the right way or the wrong way — to lock arms, to say we’re in this together, we’ll take a knee to register that we respect what it is the players are saying, but then we’re going to stand for the anthem,” Billick said. “No matter what you do, there’s going to be criticism. And however it’s done, it has to be from a collective perspective with input from the players. You have to respect that, but the players have to respect that, at the end of the day, whatever the ownership and coach say, ‘This is how we’re going to deal with it,’ that’s what you’ve got to do.”
To listen to the interview, in which Billick also discusses other NFL matters, including Odell Beckham Jr.’s antics, click on the audio player above.