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Sal Maiorana says the Buffalo Bills earned an "A" in their win over the Denver Broncos. Tina MacIntyre-Yee

Jim Kelly was not happy with the antics of LeSean McCoy Sunday.(Photo: LAUREN PETRACCA/@laurenpetracca/, 2015 FILE PHOTO)Buy Photo

ORCHARD PARK – Former Bills great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly expressed sincere disappointment Monday morning with the way Bills’ running back LeSean McCoy acted during the playing of the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game against Denver.

McCoy was one of about a dozen Bills players who did not stand for the anthem, and across the field, it looked as if about half the Broncos took a knee.

However, McCoy took his protest of President Donald Trump’s acerbic comments regarding NFL players — Colin Kaepernick in particular — and their disrespecting of the American flag and the anthem a little too far according to Kelly. McCoy, didn’t just kneel, he made a demonstrative show of stretching and then jogging in place throughout almost the entire rendition of the song.

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After President Trump said players who kneel during the anthem should lose their jobs, over 200 players and several owners demonstrated in various ways Sunday. Time Sports

During an appearance Monday on Buffalo radio station WGRF-FM (96.9), known as 97 Rock, Kelly called out McCoy.

“I like LeSean McCoy, don’t get me wrong, but I totally, 100 percent disagree with what he did,” said Kelly, who joined the Bills on the sideline Sunday and stood for the anthem. “You want to kneel? Fine. But when you go and do what he did yesterday, that sort of bummed me out. And I lost a lot of respect for him.

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Players from both teams took a knee during the national anthem in response to President Trumps remarks.  (Photo: JAMIE GERMANO, @jgermano1/Staff Photographer)

“You want to kneel?” Kelly continued. “That’s your prerogative. I would never do that. I will always stand, thank the good Lord for everything I got. But when you disrespect the way he did and just go by his everyday duty in the national anthem being sung? Uh-uh. I won’t go for that.”

Before appearing on radio, Kelly sent out a statement on his Instagram account Sunday night. The post read:

“Even though I’m thankful the BILLS won today, I’m really upset and sad about what’s happening. And I imagine many of you are too. I love the game of football and all that it means to the players, fans and cities across THIS country … but with all that’s going on it’s hard. The only time I will ever take a knee is to pray and to thank the Good Lord for what he’s given me. We all have our issues. We all need to try and appreciate and understand each other and help each other and that goes for our PRESIDENT TOO. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that we need to UNITE not SEPARATE. I hope next week we can STAND, LOCK ARMS and become ONE FAMILY.”

After the game, McCoy was asked why he decided to not stand for the anthem, but he did not address his particular actions.

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“The flag, the national anthem means a lot to me, to my teammates,” McCoy said. “We had a long meeting Saturday night, and I was very bothered by the comments of our president, of this country. As a president, you’re supposed to lead, and you’re supposed to bring us together. You’re supposed to lead this country. I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is just acting like a jerk, angry and upset about NFL players protesting in a peaceful manner.”

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While in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump said, 'Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'get that son-of-a-b**** off the field right now, out. He's fired.'' USA TODAY

Monday afternoon when he met with the media, Sean McDermott was peppered with questions regarding the protests that took place, and he was also asked about Kelly’s comments.

“Listen, Jim Kelly is one of the hallmarks of this organization,” said McDermott, who also said he had no plans to speak to Kelly about this issue. “He is an alum of this organization, this football team. At this point, I don’t see that changing.”

Defensive end Jerry Hughes wasn’t quite as diplomatic. He was not happy with Kelly calling out McCoy.

“I was very disappointed,” Hughes said. “I was very disappointed in how he approached the whole situation. Our team came together and we united as a front, as an organization, as to how we were going to approach the national anthem. If Jim was going to do what he did, then he should have came to the team and let us know his feelings. He should have let us know how he was going to do the national anthem, because we didn’t know he was going to be there from the team’s perspective.

Bills linebacker Jerry Hughes (55) chases Broncos running back Jamaal Charles.  (Photo: JAMIE GERMANO, @jgermano1/Staff Photographer)

“So for him to carry on in this manner, I’m really confused and I’m really upset, because if this is something how he felt and if this is truly what he felt and what was on his heart, he should have came to the team and he should have approached that, instead of making this a public matter, and doing that on his social page. It was not cool. Very unacceptable. If he has things to say about us as a team, come talk to us. If he wants to offer anything of encouragement to our team, to our quarterbacks, to our offense, please provide that. We could use all the encouragement we need to figure out how they won games back in those days and be successful as they were. But we’re trying to bring the team together, we’re trying to bring the community together, we’re trying to bring a nation together. By dividing us, dividing the team, that doesn’t work.”

McDermott would not comment on what he thought of McCoy’s particular protest and he stayed true to the script.

“I believe we put out a team statement for a reason, and I stick by that,” McDermott said. “I stand by that statement, of equality, of love, of unity, and I think that’s the important part right now. Really, anything in addition to that for us is, we’ve got to get our focus on our team and the Atlanta Falcons.”

 

Regarding whether the Bills might continue to kneel in protest, McDermott said, “That’s a really question for them at this point. Again, we are focused on the Atlanta Falcons. What’s going to happen this weekend is what’s going to happen. I don’t have a crystal ball, unfortunately. But with all due respect to your question, we’ve got to make sure we’re focused on the task at hand, and that’s a football game. And putting our best foot forward as a football team in Atlanta.”

MAIORANA@Gannett.com