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Panthers’ Matt Rhule would consider kneeling alongside players for anthem

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The NFL insists it will support its players in protesting racial inequality and social justice. One head coach, Bill O’Brien of the Texans, has said he will take a knee during the national anthem with his players and now another, Matt Rhule of the Panthers, told reporters he may follow.

“I would consider anything as we move forward,” Rhule said on Thursday. “I’m supportive of the cause. I’m supportive of the movement. I’m supportive of social justice. I think for every person, coach or player that will be a very personal decision. I think it has to be made at the right time and the right reason for everybody.”

Rhule, approaching his first season as an NFL head coach after coming to Carolina from Baylor, had previously said he would support his players expressing themselves. In 2016, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a trend by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Several other players followed. It has become a topic again amid social unrest in the country and the NFL publicly stating it would back players after being called upon.

“I will support my players with whatever they do, and then when the time comes, I will really think deeply about what is the best thing for me and what is the best way I can show my support,” Rhule said. “I think a lot of this has come from the players, so I will wait to see what direction they are leaning and then I will make my decision.”

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