EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Olivier Vernon is not afraid to make a statement. He is the only Giant kneeling for the national anthem as a protest to injustices facing minorities in America.
He’s endured verbal abuse from fans and was even called out in a tweet from President Donald Trump.
“I didn’t really pay attention to it, so I ain’t got no answer for that,” Vernon said Thursday when asked by reporters about the tweet.
Vernon will continue to kneel, and he does have a message to the fans. He told the New York Post, “If they don’t like it, don’t come to the game.”
It’s the latest in a series of public relations nightmares for the Giants. Players have been suspended, anonymous players have called out coach Ben McAdoo, the franchise fumbled the Eli Manning benching, and now one of the best players on the team is telling fans not to come to games.
The Giants are 2-9, already eliminated from the playoffs in a season filled with drama. The latest firestorm has pushed some Giants fans to the limit.
“Giants are pretty disgraceful this year, and it’s unfortunate that he had to come out and say that,” Giants fan Chris Rackpa said.
“That’s why I stopped watching, so no one can tell me anything, you know,” fan Matthew Camacho said.
“This whole team’s a mess this year, man,” added Ben Qira, another Big Blue fan. “It’s been a pretty bad year in general. The whole team’s falling apart since Ben McAdoo came in. He needs to go.”
The drama of the season, however, might not be over. This week, co-owner John Mara walked back his endorsement of McAdoo’s job security. And when asked if McAdoo could be fired before the season ends, he said, “There are no guarantees in life.”