Last Updated: 26/06/20 7:21am
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule says he is considering taking a knee during the national anthem to support his players who chose to do so.
The prominence of taking the knee in the league is set to grow further, four years after then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to do so in protest against racism and police brutality.
First-year Panthers coach Rhule, taking part in a video Q&A with members of the media, said he would consider doing the same when the new season begins.
“I would consider anything as we move forward,” Rhule said.
“I’m supportive of the cause, I’m supportive of the movement, I’m supportive of social justice.
“I think every person – whether a coach, player, everyone – that will be a very personal decision. I think it has to be made at the right time for the right reasons for everybody.
“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 that I can show my support. But make no mistake, I’m definitely supportive.”
Rhule’s willingness to stand by his players who chose to protest peacefully echoes similar shows of support from across the league.
Two weeks ago, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he would take a knee with any of his players who kneel during the anthem.
But 32-year-old Kaepernick, who is the most high-profile example of an NFL player taking a knee, has not played in the league since 2016, and he eventually settled a collusion case with the NFL last spring.
Black Lives Matter protests worldwide gained renewed attention following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, at the hands of police in May.