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Bill Belichick expresses ‘immense respect’ for how Patriots players conduct themselves

Bill Belichick refused to discuss the national anthem display in his postgame press conference
Bill Belichick refused to discuss the national anthem display in his postgame press conference

A day after members of the Patriots took a knee or locked arms during the national anthem, coach Bill Belichick addressed the matter in a statement, noting that he has “immense respect and admiration for our players.”

The team said before a conference call with Belichick on Monday that he would again only answer football questions, though it was noted he would address “other topics” at a “later time.”

A few hours later, the Patriots released Belichick’s statement. Here it is in full:

“I have immense respect and admiration for our players, for how they conduct themselves professionally as New England Patriots and for how they represent themselves, their families and community as men. I have coached football for over four decades and one of the greatest things about being in this environment is the diversity of people, backgrounds, viewpoints and relationships we are fortunate to experience. As with any large group of people, there is a variety of perspectives and opinions on many topics. Discussions occur between myself, individual players, groups and the entire team on an ongoing basis. They concern the team and other issues surrounding the team. I am going to keep the specifics of those conversations private. I will do what I feel is best for the team in my role as head coach and collectively, we will work together to find the best way to proceed.”

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In his postgame news conference on Sunday, the Patriots coach refused to discuss players kneeling or locking arms, saying that he wanted to stick to questions regarding the game itself:

Bill Belichick refused to discuss the national anthem display in his postgame press conference
Bill Belichick refused to discuss the national anthem display in his postgame press conference