After President Trump railed against the NFL protests taking place during the national anthem, instructing owners to deal with any player who took a knee to, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired,” three Giants players decided to kneel down prior to the Week 3 game in Philadelphia.
Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins and Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison all took a knee during the national anthem, part of a widespread movement around the league.
Since then, the protests have mostly dissipated. Vernon is the lone Giants player continuing to kneel during the national anthem, usually flanked by Collins and Harrison, who stand with their hands on Vernon’s shoulder.
Vernon told The Post on Thursday as he kneels, at home or on the road, he hears plenty of verbal abuse from fans.
“You hear ‘coward’ and ‘stand up’ and ‘disgrace,’’ Vernon said. “It’s fine. As long as nobody comes on the field and touches me. You stay where you at, you’re going to be all right. They have a right. Oh yeah, I hear it all the time. If they don’t like it, don’t come to the game.’’
Vernon, born to a Jamaican father — a recently retired Miami Police officer of 25 years — and Swiss mother, said he was heartened to hear the news this week that the NFL and its teams will donate about $90 million by 2023 to social causes deemed important by the players, focusing on African-American communities.
“Making progress, moving forward,’’ Vernon said. “I don’t know all the logistics of everything right now, but it sounds likes it’s great movement to a good direction.”
This direction, he said, is why he kneels during the national anthem and why he will continue to do so for the remainder of the season. Vernon has always maintained his actions are about highlighting racial injustice and not about disrespect for the flag or country.
“At the end of the day, you want to fight for something that’s right,’’ Vernon said. “At least some type change that can help elevate something, you just see something that’s being pushed. I feel like it’s a small step, but it is progress.