On Friday, Chicago Bears Defensive End Akiem Hicks was promoted to Team Captain for the rest of the season, stepping up and filling a role left vacated by the injured Jerrell Freeman. On Saturday, Hicks was called upon to be a leader and answer very important questions about free speech and individual rights following President Donald Trump’s attacks on Colin Kaepernick and the first amendment rights of National Football League players.
First, here’s what Trump said last night at a rally in Alabama, via a tweet from The Guardian reporter Bryan Armen Graham:
Trump's comments in Alabama tonight on the NFL's rule changes and ongoing anthem protests. pic.twitter.com/yEUumh31pq
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) September 23, 2017
Next, here is the statement on this issue from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
In response to President Trump: pic.twitter.com/R5Wuce1XYc
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2017
Akiem Hicks, appearing at the Built Ford Tough Toughest Tailgate at Brookfield Zoo, did a question and answer session with The Sports Bank, and two other reporters.
Here’s what Hicks had to say when the hottest topic in the sports world this weekend came up:
“I think that it goes against a lot of the rights that we hold dear and the rights that we fight for as citizens in America. I don’t really appreciate it, but it’s where we’re at as a country right now, and it’s where our leadership is. I’m no activist and I’m not standing at the forefront of any movement, but I will say that you want to be respected and you want to be appreciated for what you do, and be allowed the basic human rights that we all deserve.”
Hicks was asked if these issues were raised in the Bears team meetings on Saturday, and he said no, they were not. He was also asked if we should expect to see a team response to Trump’s attacking the right to free speech tomorrow when the team hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I have no bearing on that whatsoever,” Akiem Hicks told the trio of journalists.
“I think everybody should act accordingly and act how they feel they should act or do whatever they feel the need to do, but for me I have a business meeting on Sunday, 12 noon.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.