Jack Latvala says he sides with Donald Trump’s criticism of NFL players

Jack Latvala

After Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans opted not to stand for the national anthem in protest of Donald Trump’s election, Pinellas state Sen. Jack Latvala said he would personally boycott Bucs games until Evans apologized or was cut from the team.

He is maintaining that stance after Evans and fellow Bucs wide receiver DeSean Jackson joined many of their NFL brethren on Sunday by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. The protests were in response to Trump’s comments made Friday night that NFL owners who have players “disrespecting the flag” should “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.”

“A year ago, long before I became a candidate for Governor I called out the Bucs receiver who knelt for the national anthem,” Latvala wrote on his Facebook page Sunday night. “This is not a new issue for me and my attitude has not changed.”

Two NFL teams – the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans – chose to protest by not even leaving their locker rooms while the national anthem was played in Nashville. The Pittsburgh Steelers did the same thing before their game in Chicago, with the exception of one player, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

Latvala says he’s a fan of Villanueva.

“Thankfully we still have players like Alejandro Villanueva who stood up for our country on the battlefield and stood up for our flag today!” Latvala wrote.

The Clearwater Republican announced his candidacy for Florida governor last month, joining Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the race.

Putnam tweeted Sunday that he also agreed with the president comments about NFL players who refuse to stand for the anthem.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who is strongly considering running for governor, tweeted a photo of Villanueva showing his support for standing for the anthem. “This is what a hero looks like,” Corcoran wrote.

After Latvala criticized Evans last year, the receiver backed down, saying that he would no longer sit during the anthem. Evans was criticized by fans not only for refusing to stand for the anthem in protest of Trump’s election but for also admitting that he didn’t actually vote in the presidential contest.

However, this time, the Bucs receiver sounds like he won’t back down.

“When the president has singled out athletes, or African-American athletes, myself and my other colleagues that took a knee just have different beliefs than him,” Evans told the Tampa Bay Times Sunday. “It was very childish on his part. It seems like he’s trying to divide us. I think this is an opportunity for me to do what I can. A lot of guys around the league did it and I understand why.”

“People are going to misconstrue and turn it to make it depict a different picture than it really is,” Evans continued. “I love the military. Like I said last year when I sat, it’s nothing against the military at all. The anthem is different for other people. People say it’s unpatriotic. But it’s unpatriotic for the president not to respect our rights.”

As was the case last year, Latvala is attracting plenty of comments on his Facebook page for his stance on the issue — pro and con.

“I don’t appreciate or support the Bucs’ stance on this issue,” wrote Cherie Anne Gaynor. “I’m finished with them and probably all NFL teams and will try not to buy any of their sponsors’ products.”

“I appreciate people who stand by their beliefs,” wrote Adam Miguel Harvey. “You’re not getting my vote but thank you for it being vocal about the argument.”

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected]


  • Peter Harding

    September 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I have to agree “it’s unpatriotic for the president not to respect our rights.” In fact there is nothing patriotic about Trump at all. He did not win the popular vote and he should not be our president. Those who side with Trump are proving to be racist and false patriots or religious zealots. As a veteran I am extremely ashamed to have Trump and those like him claim to represent the USA, they do not!

    • Sandee Dempsey

      September 26, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Peter you can believe all you want about Trump losing the popular vote. He lost that through the fraudulent votes of the Democratic Party. I may not fully agree with our President but it has been proven that dead people vote.

      • Peter Harding

        September 26, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        And we all know that is just another of Rump’s many lies. Do we even know when it is if ever that he tells the truth? This is so painful for him he refuses to believe what is real but again that is something he knows nothing about. If you want to be fooled by this fool that is your business. Fortunately the majority of americans do know what the truth is.

  • Chris Kennard

    September 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I have to agree with most all that Mr. Peter Harding stated in his post, and I am very thankful that those of us like Mr. Harding and myself who served our country when drafted are speaking out to defend our nation. I am a 65 year old man, retired and living down in a conservative area of Florida. Insofar as I am concerned, it is people like Mr Harding who are our true patriots, not people like Donald Trump or the easy-to-see corrupt Florida politicians who voice support for Trump and his attempts to divide the voters.

    Many folks around here voted for Trump, and are now very quiet about the fact they did. Most of us simply cannot believe what tripe comes out of this man, regardless for whom we voted. Our country and the world are in perilous times with Trump in Washington D.C. doing as he was sent in to do, create division, strife, confusion and chaos. He does a good job in this respect, although that was not what the majority of people who voted for him want him to be doing.

    Donald Trump has never done anything positive for America, and in fact has played the system as a cheat by not paying his taxes nor many bills owed to individual people and companies who supplied goods and service to him on good faith. No honesty in him.

    In fact, Donald Trump did not serve in the Armed Forces or in any other capacity . . . he allowed others to do so while he skated free. Tens of thousands of us who did not weasel out of our responsibility to serve our nation are now standing up tall to defend it against those like Donald Trump and his minions.

    Soon, it will be millions more voters adding their voice to drain the swamp, and toss out most of those politicians who do not serve their country, but like Trump, only themselves.

    Why did Billy Clinton, George jr. Bush and Donald Trump desert or decline to serve America? And, how in the world did these three ever become “elected” as President?

    Most likely, if you think of the kind of men each one of these three are, I would not doubt they all both thought they “were smart” and in their hearts, “chickened out” due to personal fear.

    I am one of those who do find that the braggarts are usually deficient in various ways, one being a lack of real respect and confidence for themselves, which leads to a very low bar on common decency and appropriate behavior towards other folks. They are particularly loud (and vulgar if they harbor this issue as well) when they believe they will not have to answer for their words or actions of a like nature. Now, take another look at these three and their similarities. God help us; these are the kind of people we elect to public office?

    My main concern remains with those who voted for Trump who now realize they were duped. Relatively few thousands around the country would have supported Donald Trump had they known he was leading them into the mess our nation faces.

    The same is true about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy . . . many who supported her would not have done so had they known more about her, the Clinton Foundation, and other aspects of the Clinton’s past. Georgie jr. Bush was different, since he was given the Oval Office by his daddy’s friends he put on the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court appointed Georgie jr. Bush baby, rather than letting the people’s votes determine the 2000 election. Next thing we know, the Bush Dynasty partners, the unelected rulers of Saudi Arabia, sent religious fanatics to America to create the 9/11 events in order to preserve their oil revenues supporting their country and the Bush league.

    Americans must gather together, not drift further apart. Trump, the Bush Dynasty, the Billy and Hillary Clinton team are all tied to secret slush funds run by the CIA, whose job it is for the big money ” masters of the universe” is to control the America and the American people, by divide and conquer techniques that keep us form voting in great numbers to kick the bums out of Washington D.C. and most statehouses around the nation.

    I, too, am embarrassed that people were either so angry or so ignorant that they would vote for some one like Donald. He is a very poor representative of the United States, and only represents the worst of the American people in general. Donald is a disgrace to America.

    Now that he is attacking NFL football players, many more voters will take another look at the votes they cast in 2016. Hopefully, it will move folks to cast their votes more carefully for honest candidates who will serve America, and not their own piggy banks and ego.

  • Michael. Medio

    September 26, 2017 at 6:56 am

    The President once again speaks for the MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I totally agree with every word he says about the NFL BABIES. This is about them protesting absolutely nothing. They are living in a dream world that they think they are GODS. What a joke. Beat their wives, get out of felony crimes by the rich owners attorneys. Anyone who supports these players are the same losers who supported Crooked what’s her name.

  • Jose

    September 26, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I perfer my sports and to be political free. I watch sports go to movies to getaway from nonsense. millionaires who received free college do not need to lecture me or call me a racist. So like Fox CNN and other channels that are political I choose not to watch just like I do not watch the NFL anymore

  • keri clark

    September 26, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Trump is not the one dividing, it was going on during the time Obama was in office. We should stand for the athem..were not there to deal with politics were there to watch them play. Why dont they take their millions and help the hurricane victims or go young men that are in poverty. Its sad to see our country being torn because of selfish reasons. #Godistheanswer#kneelandpray#humbleourselves#turnfromourwickedways#Godwillhealourland

Comments are closed.


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