George Clooney Pens Poem in Wake of NFL Protests: 'I Pray for My Country'
By Elizabeth Stanton
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images
George Clooney is the latest celebrity to weigh in on the growing debate over NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump's recent controversial remarks and tweets.
In a post for The Daily Beast, Clooney wrote a short poem that reads as a prayer for the United States:
I pray for my country.
I pray that we can find more that unites us than divides us.
I pray that our nation's leaders want to do the same.
I pray that young children like Tamir Rice can feel safe in their neighborhood.
I pray for all of our children.
I pray for our police and our first responders.
I pray for our men and women of the armed services.
I pray that dissent will always be protected in this great country.
I pray for a more perfect union.
And when I pray, I kneel.
The 56-year-old actor-director has been outspoken in his dislike for President Trump, blasting the commander in chief's claims that he is a "Hollywood elite."
"I grew up understanding what it was like to not have health insurance for eight years," he said in an interview with The Daily Beast. "So this idea that I'm somehow the 'Hollywood elite' and this guy who takes a s**t in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable."
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also continues to support his fellow players in choosing to take a knee in protest.
"I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do," Brady said on Boston's WEEI sports radio station. "If you don't agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It's part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about."
The issue remains hotly debated within the NFL. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger strongly disagreed with his team's choice to stay in the locker room prior to their Sunday game against the Baltimore Ravens.
"I personally don’t believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest," he said in a statement. "For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice."
Jessie James Decker, country singer and wife of Tennessee Titans wide receiver Eric Decker, also slammed the protests and claims her husband did not want to partake in them on Sunday.
In a statement, the team announced they would remain inside the locker room for the "Star-Spangled Banner" before their game against the Seattle Seahawks. According to Decker, her husband wasn't aware of the decision beforehand. In responding to an Instagram comment, she wrote, "If he had known he would have been out there hand over heart. Unfortunately, he wasn’t made aware it was time to head to the field as they always do every game."
But other stars like Brady continue to stand by their teammates.
"I thought it was just divisive," he said on WEEI. "Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, 'Oh, that is wrong. That is right.' I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day."