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Bears coach on national anthem: ‘Whatever we do, we’re going to do it together’

BOURBONNAIS —  Coach Matt Nagy has met with players about whether they plan to protest during the national anthem Thursday night, and he plans to get a final sense of what the team will do in the next day.

“We’ll get to that, really, in the next day,” he said after practice Tuesday. “We’ll finalize that. But I feel really, really good with where we’re at. I feel comfortable.

“And I know this: Whatever we do, we’re going to do it together.”

Chairman George McCaskey and the Bears’ front office has been part of the discussions.

Bears players stand during the national anthem last year. (AP)

“It’s everybody,” Nagy said. “It’s collectively. That’s how we do things around here. I think that’s the best way. Me personally, that’s my opinion. And I know everybody else feels that way. And that’s what makes it really easy for so many of us to understand that and feel good. We talk about a family-type atmosphere in this organization, and I think you’ll see that.”

The Bears linked arms last year under coach John Fox. Outside linebacker Sam Acho, the vice president of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, said he wasn’t sure if that will hold true before the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “I can’t tell you. I mean, you’re looking at me for a better answer.”

Asked why the team would differ from 2017, Acho was vague, saying that the NFL — and the world at large — was filled with people with varying ideas.

“Different people have different opinions,” he said. “Different people have different beliefs. Some people believe in protesting, and some people don’t. Some people believe in first-amendment rights, and some people don’t.”

Making a difference in the community matters as much as making a statement, Acho said.

“I’m confident that whatever comes out on Thursday, that whatever we do as a team — once again we’re going to do it together — I’m confident we’re going to make substantive and significant change in Chicago,’’ he said.

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The NFL and NFLPA agreed earlier in July to hit pause on the league’s controversial policy, released in May, that said teams could fine players who didn’t stand for the anthem. The NFL allowed players to stay in the locker room, should they choose, and left punishment up to teams.

“Everybody has their own opinion,” Nagy said. “Specifically, everybody is right and everybody is somewhat wrong. There is no correct answer.

“But as long as you talk it through and you do it peacefully and you understand that, then you realize what is out there. And that as long as you recognize that, you talk it through and you try to help out. So I feel really good with where we’re at.”

 

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