Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt recently shut down a Twitter user that spoke about his intentions during the 2020 season. There have been considerable discussions about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, but one person said Watt would never do that. The Pro Bowler responded strongly while calling out this individual.
The interaction occurred when the Twitter user responded to a comment about Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien potentially kneeling during the national anthem with his players. "Pretty sure you won't see @JJWatt taking a knee... [American flag emoji]," the user wrote in a now-deleted tweet. Watt responded and said, "Don't speak for me." He also called out the user in relation to what kneeling actually means.
"If you still think it's about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven't been paying attention," Watt wrote. The Texans star is someone with a history of supporting military members and foundations. An example of this is his JJ II Valor Reebok shoes. Watt donated portions of the proceeds from the sale of these shoes to The Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Foundation.
A year later, Watt and Reebok partnered to release special shoes honoring his grandfather who served in the Korean War. He has long shown support for service members and explained on Twitter that kneeling has nothing to do with the military. He joined many others in recognizing that this form of protest is more about protesting systemic racism and police brutality.
"Yeah, I'll take a knee — I'm all for it," O'Brien originally told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. "The players have a right to protest, a right to be heard and a right to be who they are. They're not taking a knee because they're against our flag. They’re taking a knee because they haven't been treated equally in this country for over 400 years."
There are several players, coaches and owners that have spoken out about peaceful protests amid ongoing protests around the country. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said he would "be a hypocrite" if he didn't defend and support his players. New England Patriots running back James White said he's sure the team will peacefully protest during the season.
Several players are facing questions about whether or not they will participate during these protests, but Watt is shutting that discussion down. He's not letting anyone speak for him on this issue. He's also making a strong statement about what kneeling actually represents.