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    FOX 46 Carolinas

    Rivera, Richardson comment on national anthem protests

    More than 130 NFL players took a knee Sunday protesting President Trump's comments that players who kneel during the national anthem should be suspended or fired.

    Panthers head coach Rob Rivera also addressed the issue during a press conference.

    "To me this doesn't have anything to do with disrespect to the military or first responders, I think this is about the rights and freedoms that people have and that people deserve," Rivera said.

    Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers stayed in the locker room during the national anthem Sunday.

    RELATED: Panthers stand for national anthem, Julius Peppers stays in locker room

    "You know what went on this week with the comments that were made by the president. I felt like he attacked our brothers my brothers, it was appropriate to stand up with them and stay in the locker room," said Peppers.

    Coach Rivera said he supports Peppers' decision.

    "They're just trying to bring awareness to the social injustices and inequities right now and I think we all feel that way at least I know I do as well," Rivera said.

    Panthers owner Jerry Richardson also released a comment on the issue earlier today saying: ""We are proud of the men we have on this football team. Our players have been active and impactful participants in making our community stronger. From the first time I stepped into an NFL locker room at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1959, I have lived and seen the sport's ability to bring people of all backgrounds together. Politicizing the game is damaging and takes the focus off the greatness of the game itself and those who play it."

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