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DT Akeem Spence says father denied job in protest fallout

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions defensive tackle Akeem Spence tweeted Thursday afternoon that his father was denied a contracting job because of Spence's protest during the national anthem on Sunday.

Spence was one of eight Lions players who kneeled during the national anthem prior to Detroit's loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He told ESPN after the game that the decision to kneel was a group effort among those players and that it was to "stand up for what's right, man."

He also said the protest had nothing to do with the military or the flag.

"No disrespect to the flag, no disrespect to any of the veterans or anything. It was just right is right, wrong is wrong, and what the guy said about us as NFL players, I just feel like that's something that's us, as NFL players, we have to stand up for that's not what we are," Spence said Sunday. "You know what I'm saying. We're human beings. We give back to the community.

"We do great things, and our owners, you know what I'm saying, they do great things. So that's something we don't represent around the NFL. That's something every team should have come out and showed this Sunday, that it's not what that guy said about us."

Spence -- and many NFL players -- protested during the anthem following critical statements made by President Donald Trump, who said players who protest during the anthem should be "fired" by their teams' owners.

"It's crazy and it's wrong, you know. It shouldn't be like that," Spence said. "We're hard-working people who give back to the community. Our owners are the same way, you know, and they have the utmost respect for us and we have the utmost respect for our country, our flag and everything like that. So for our head guy to say something like that about our owners and what they should do, that's something that I can't, man, right is right.

"I felt like he was wrong in that sense, and we just came out and acted unity, together and just tried to make a statement."

On Friday, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he didn't want to talk about it but called the situation "unprecedented."

"I'm not going to talk about it anymore. I mentioned that earlier. This is something that's unprecedented," Caldwell said. "Obviously it hasn't happened before. There's not a whole lot you can say about it. Like I said, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about it."