Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer 27d

Falcons' Grady Jarrett, Dontari Poe might keep taking knee during anthem

DETROIT -- Atlanta Falcons defensive linemen Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe, who both took a knee during Sunday's national anthem to protest harsh statements last week by President Donald Trump regarding NFL players, said they would consider continuing to kneel moving forward.

The Falcons, along with team owner Arthur Blank, locked arms during the anthem before Sunday's 30-26 win against the Detroit Lions as a show of unity. Jarrett and Poe were the only two Falcons to take a knee.

Jarrett took exception to Trump, who, during a rally Friday in Alabama said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!'"

"Ah man, I'm a son of a queen," Jarrett said. "Enough said."

Neither Jarrett nor Poe informed coach Dan Quinn about his intention to take a knee.

"My spirit moved me in a way, and it was on my mind," Jarrett said. "It was on my mind, man. And it's definitely something that it's so awesome because of having the support of your brothers, man, and a supportive organization like this. It's truly a blessing. I'm just thankful."

Said Poe, "I just felt like, as a man, it was something I should do. No matter what's going on, if I can do something to help in any kind of way, that was the way that I chose. And I did it. ... It's more about being together as people try to divide you. Strength in numbers; strength in yourself. I felt like it was more of my duty to do it."

Asked if he planned to keep kneeling heading into Sunday's home game against the Buffalo Bills, Jarrett said, "Maybe."

Poe answered the same question.

"It's something that we'll talk about," he said. "We'll see."

Quinn, who said all along any such protests would be a decision made collectively, addressed both players during his postgame news conference and did not frown on their demonstrations.

"For those two, that was something that they thought was important for them to have that solidarity," Quinn said. "A good topic for those two, but we support them like crazy.

"Dontari Poe has been an excellent addition to our group. It's not always easy to come in when you're an established player at another spot and find your way in. He and Grady Jarrett have such a good connection, and already going into his third year, Grady has become a fine leader for us. So I'm not surprised that they wanted to do that together and you can see the connection that they have started to build."

Blank also was asked after the game about Jarrett and Poe taking a knee.

"I'm definitely supportive of them and their right to express themselves," Blank said. "That's what freedom of speech is about. That's what our country is about. But the long-term issue is, how do we move from expressing ourselves to change? That's where, I think, the NFL has done great work. The owners, players, coaches all need to do more. And I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to be part of that, through our foundation and really all of our businesses."

Jarrett appreciated Blank's support.

"Mr. Blank has a track record of doing what's in the best interest for his team," Jarrett said. "That's why he built us that awesome facility that we play in. That's why he's so involved in the community."

^ Back to Top ^