Broncos’ Vance Joseph: “Politics and football don’t mix in my opinion”

Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said adamantly Monday that he doesn’t believe the protests during the national anthem Sunday were a distraction for his team or influenced their play on the field in a loss to Buffalo.

Joseph spoke to his players Saturday night about President Donald Trump’s comments, in which Trump said “son of a bitch” protesters should be fired by NFL owners for disrespecting the flag. In his conversation with the team, Joseph encouraged players to “put the team first” and focus on the game Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Thirty-two Broncos players took a knee during the anthem, some with their arms locked. Some stood with their hands on the shoulders of kneeling teammates. Some had their fists raised. Some had their hands over their heart.

Joseph stood.

“My view hasn’t changed with this,” he said Monday. “I believe in standing for the anthem. That’s just my personal belief. I was raised that way. I believe in that. The flag and the anthem mean a lot to me as far the freedoms that we endure everyday as U.S. citizens. It’s important for me to stand. But that being said, our players have a right to a peaceful protest. That’s their right as U.S. citizens.

“But hopefully we can move past this and play football because politics and football don’t mix, in my opinion, and I’m a football coach, they’re football players and our job is to win football games. Hopefully, we can get back to that this week.”