BOSTON (CBS) — Former Patriots left tackle Matt Light did not hesitate to share his thoughts on the national anthem protests that took place in New England and across the NFL on Sunday. He strongly disagrees with those who do not stand during the anthem, saying that he was “ashamed to be a Patriot” for the first time in his life.
He also said he’s not the only ex-Patriot who feels the way he does, but some of his former teammates have responded – and did not exactly take his side.
The strongest rebuttal of Light’s comments came from former guard/center Damien Woody, who started alongside Light on the Patriots offensive line from 2001-03. He took exception to Light’s implication that he would not have allowed national anthem protests to happen during his time in New England.
Ex-Patriots Troy Brown and Dan Koppen had more measured responses to their former teammate’s comments via CSNNE on Monday night. Brown supported Light’s right to express himself while disagreeing with his general message.
“He has a right to feel the way that he wants to feel, and I respect that. At least he did not call people who disagree with him S.O.B.’s because he doesn’t agree with them. So that’s the proper way to respond to it. If [Light] doesn’t agree [with the protests], I disagree with that. I’ve known Matt quite a while. I have a lot of respect for Matt. I’ve done a lot of work with his foundation and been there to support him. He does a ton of great work.”
Koppen agrees with Light on the idea of standing for the national anthem and respecting the American flag and the military, but believes that his ex-teammate is focusing too much on the flag and missing the big picture issues that the protests are trying to illuminate – as well as the message of unity and solidarity that NFL teams were sending against the president.
“We both know Matt Light. He has strong opinions. He’s very vocal. He’s stubborn at times. And if that’s the way he felt that’s fine. I’m not gonna take a knee during the national anthem, but that doesn’t mean my teammate here doesn’t have that right to do that. It’s about coming together as teammates and supporting one another. Light’s just referring to respect for the flag. I get that, but I think there’s a broader picture here. I have the utmost respect for the flag and what our servicemen and women have done for us, but I don’t think it’s just about the flag now.”
Light specifically criticized former teammate Devin McCourty for his forms of protesting the national anthem, as well as Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s response to President Trump. Neither McCourty not Kraft have publicly responded to his remarks.