Panthers coach Matt Rhule may kneel with players during the national anthem.
Matt Rhule is looking out for his players in his new NFL post.
The former Baylor Bears head coach has left the Big 12 in favor of the NFC South, as he is the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Rhule has cultivated a reputation of tearing down a football team down to the studs and rebuilding it very quickly and triumphantly. While Carolina may struggle in a tough division this fall, Rhule is setting the tone in Charlotte with his actions.
“I would consider anything as we move forward,” said Rhule. “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.”
Though he didn’t flat-out say it, it is implied that Rhule isn’t ruling out the prospect of kneeling alongside his Carolina players.
“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,” said Rhule.
He would finish up his thoughts on the subject by reiterating how he and his team plan to go about this will shape what the Panthers do during the playing of the national anthem at NFL games this fall.
“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,” said Rhule.
Matt Rhule is open to the idea of kneeling during the national anthem.
Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said he would kneel with his players. His best defensive player in defensive lineman J.J. Watt implied that he would. Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield said he absolutely would with his teammates this fall. These are just a handful of notable coaches and players who plan to support their players and teammates.
What’s interesting about Rhule is he hasn’t even coached in his first NFL game as the main man. There’s a ton of pressure on any first-year head coach, much less one potentially planning to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem when much of the viewing audience doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not about the flag.
Another interesting wrinkle here is the franchise Rhule is employed by. David Tepper is very early in his ownership of the Panthers franchise, but former longtime owner Jerry Richardson isn’t exactly well-revered these days. They had to relocate his statue in front of Bank of America Stadium, you know, the one that was never allowed to be relocated.
Rhule has plenty of time to think about how he’ll show support for his players this season.