This Sunday, Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers refused to stand during the National Anthem. Evans claims that he did not mean to offend any veterans, and that he sat as a protest against Trump’s election as President of the United States last week. “I’m not a political person that much, but I got common sense. And I know when something’s not right,” Evans said in an interview. Many, however, are criticizing Evans’ decision, especially as the month of November is a sacred time for the NFL to honor our nation’s military and veterans.
In a statement released after the Buccaneers’ victory on Sunday, officials stated:
“The Buccaneers are deeply committed to the military and honoring the great men and women that have dedicated their lives and have made great sacrifices to insure all the tremendous freedoms we have in this great country,” it read. We encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the National Anthem. We also recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American principles we cherish.”
Regardless of Evan’s reasoning, or the claim of “freedom of speech,” many feel that the NFL field isn’t the place for personal opinion to be expressed. Evans is anticipated to make almost $4 million this season, and many children across the country look up to football players like him as role models. Freedom of expression is one thing, but to do so on national television while being paid MILLIONS of dollars, is a different scenario.
Meanwhile, in Lake County, Florida, wheelchair-bound teen Arek Trenholm is proud to stand for the American flag and our National Athem. Trenholm was born with spina bifida, which results in the incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. Trenholm has drawn national attention after standing for the flag during his town’s homecoming parade, using his arms to hoist himself upright as a show of respect for our nation. “[I] didn’t want to be disrespectful,” Trenholm said. ““I always stand up when … they do the flag.”
After learning of Trenholm’s courageous effort to honor the flag, veteran owned company The Standing Company donated a standing wheelchair to Arek, so that he could proudly stand and honor our flag and them whenever he desires. David Maczik, President and Founder of the Standing Company, had this to say:
“I was moved by Arek’s attempt to stand up for the American flag, so I decided that The Standing Company would provide him with an opportunity to stand up any time he wants by donating to him a manual Superstand Standing Wheelchair. As a U.S. veteran myself, and because our company is a certified Veteran Owned Small Business, we supply American manufactured standing wheelchairs to VA Medical Centers. We are daily in the business of trying to help our veteran guys and gals. We support anybody who supports these veterans and the flag of our country.”
Thanks to the generosity of The Standing Company, Arek is now able to stand proudly for the flag on his own. His uncle, Myron Leggett, couldn’t be prouder of the man his nephew is becoming. “He’s making that effort, where so many…that have legs, that could stand, are sitting or kneeling, and not using their ‘well legs’ to stand and respect those who have fought and died for our flag and for our country.”
Read more about Arek’s courageous story here: