Michigan senior linebacker Mike McCray on Tuesday explained why he and several teammates raised their fists during the national anthem before last Saturday’s game and offered an apology to those who may have been offended.
McCray, who joined senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis, senior fullback Khalid Hill, redshirt junior offensive lineman David Dawson and freshmen Devin Bush and Elysee Mbem-Bosse in the display, took to Twitter to offer his explanation.
“The actions during the National Anthem by myself and some of my teammates on Saturday were not intended to disrespect the National Anthem or the Flag that represents our country,” McCray wrote. “Though our actions did represent our support to Colin Kaepernick and what he started and that was to bring awareness to a problem that is going on in our country. He has given so many people a voice and courage to stand up for what we believe is right, just like the people who came before us and sacrificed so much for our freedom and for us to have a voice today.
“We want to apologize if you felt that we were being disrespectful to the National Anthem or the Flag because we know people who have and who are still fighting for our country. Let’s come together as one and make a difference in this great country we live in. #GodBlessAmerica #ComeTogetherAsOne”
After the game last Saturday, Lewis, who is outspoken on a number of issues and uses Twitter as a vehicle to express his opinions, said there’s a message the Michigan players hoped would come across from their demonstration.
“(There’s an) injustice here in this country, and we have to take notice of it,” said Lewis, who said he has been raising his fist during the anthem each game – he missed the first three with an injury but was on the sideline. “That’s really what it is. It’s nothing (of) disrespect toward the country or anything like that, but it is injustice.
“We’ve got to come together. Honestly, we have to encounter each other more. We have to be involved with each other more. We can’t just think, ‘OK, well, it is injustice. How do we fix it from the outside?’ We have to come together as a human race.”
Lewis said after the game he does not know if this will be a weekly demonstration.
"There's a freedom of expression, somebody can speak their mind," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said after the Penn State game. "I support our guys, and I think this is something that's not going away. It's gonna keep happening.
"It's not something that's gonna keep them out of heaven."