Here’s Bill Belichick’s statement in response to Patriots players’ anthem protests

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A day after members of the Patriots marked the pregame national anthem by kneeling or locking arms, Bill Belichick addressed the matter in a statement, noting that he has “immense respect and admiration for our players.”

The Patriots coach refused to discuss the national anthem display in his postgame press conference on Sunday, saying that he wanted to stick to questions regarding the game itself.

On Monday, the Patriots announced prior to a media conference call with Belichick that he would again only answer football questions, though it was noted he would address “other topics” at a “later time.”

Only a few hours afterward, the Patriots released Belichick’s statement:

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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