For Pete's Sake

Chiefs’ Chris Conley explains his support for anthem protests after Trump’s comments

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley.

While giving a speech in Alabama on Friday night, President Donald Trump addressed the issue of NFL players who have protested during the playing of the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b---- off the field right now,’ ” Trump said. “ ‘He is fired.’ 

That led to a number of NFL players to speak out about the comments. Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley, who hasn’t sat or raised a fist during the playing of the national anthem, defended his peers who have.

Conley tweeted: “‘Stick to sports boy ... Sit down and do what your told. Say or do something we don’t like and your fired’ Well I hate to break it to ya...

“When will people learn that fear won’t make someone sit down. It quite possibly will make more stand up for what they believe in.”

That led to a number of people tweeting at Conley, and he answered quite a few of them.

Twitter user Mark Orr wrote: “So you believe in disrespecting those who have served because you can’t find a better way to make an impact. Awesome.”

Conley’s response: “Homie my father and family served. I’m a military brat. Protesting injustice places no blight on my respect for them and others.

“Find another narrative. My family is ok with it. My friends who serve and vets I know support it. Sorry if you’re offended.”

Orr wrote back: “By kneeling when the National Anthem is played because you don’t agree with something is ABSOLUTELY disrespectful. There are other ways.”

Conley answered: “My father served for the people of this country. Not the flag. For their rights and lives. To me flag worship isn’t the same as respect.”

Twitter user Jonathan Schmidt wrote: “Chris, how about some of u athletes go make appearances in the streets of Chicago or LA? That would be a bigger impact.”

Conley’s response: “Um hey Jonathan. Believe it or not many players are being active in their communities with people and law enforcement. How about you join?”

Schmidt answered: “I do my friend, I’m not trying to come across as combative but the optics of that would make a difference.”

Conley wrote: “Media doesn’t focus on those optics they don’t sell. But don’t discount players voices because you don’t see their work on the ground”

Twitter user Scott Viterise wrote that there are ramifications to the action of the protests and Conley said that was fine.

The exchange continued with Viterise, who tweeted: “Someone will be glad to take your place Chris. What have you done to make this situation better?”

Conley wrote: “Thanks Scott. I will shudder in my sleep tonight. I don’t just use my voice or my tweets. Assume what you may friend.”

“Nothing, I figured,” wrote Viterise.

Conley responded: “The fact that we have to televise community outreach to please people is laughable. I don’t do it for you”

Viterise answered: “But you televise your protests. Lol”

Conley wrote: “Scott... Scott! Please be informed if you come to Twitter argue! I’m not mad just disappointed

“I personally have not taken a knee. I support those who do. And like my community outreach I don’t do that for you either.”

With that, Conley was done.

“I’m done tweeting tonight. All I hope is that we can learn from even this. Love y’all. Even those that disagree with me.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff