Cubs’ Joe Maddon Comfortable With Players Protesting, Calls For Unity Instead Of Polarization

(CBS) As others have done in recent days across the sports landscape, Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday called for unity and expressed concern over the divisiveness in the nation following inflammatory remarks by President Donald Trump last Friday toward peacefully protesting NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

Hundreds of athletes across the country have condemned Trump’s remarks and/or demonstrated via peaceful protests, including across the NFL en masse Sunday.

Maddon — who has previously acknowledged he’s socially liberal and otherwise largely conservative — expressed support for his players if any of them want to demonstrate.

“I don’t understand the method being incorporated from Washington to the rest of the world right now,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show. “I can’t defend any of that. Obviously, I’ve talked about on an annual basis with us, I really promote freedom among our players and their ability to express themselves and support them. This is congruent with everything else that’s going on regarding the protests from the players, etc., I’m all about that. It’s just really disappointing, I don’t understand why it’s gotten to this point. At some point, we’ve got to attempt to unify as opposed to keep polarizing.

“It’d be totally incongruent with my philosophy as a human being to discourage the players from doing something like that. I always want our guys to express themselves whenever they talk to you or the news media or whatever they want to do in their personal lives.”

Maddon also again clarified a remark he made over the weekend that he believed was taken out of context. After a win against the Brewers on Saturday, Maddon said it’s “dangerous when folks stop respecting the White House.” He emphasized he’s comfortable with players condemning Trump’s rhetoric and

“When I said it was dangerous, I meant particularly in this time, with everything going on worldwide, to appear to be so divided internationally was really not a good thing,” Maddon said. “That’s primarily when I meant. I’m not saying as a citizen that you can’t disagree with the president. In no ways did I mean that. Beyond that, listen, it’s really tough to read all this. I like reading the newspapers. I’ve told you guys that. It’s really hard to read the news right now, it’s hard to watch television news and see all this divisiveness going on.

“For me, what I do here at work with the Cubs, what I did in the past, you’re always trying to unify instead of polarize. I don’t understand the method at all. I understand why the players have done what they’re done.”

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