Colts’ Dwayne Allen responds to critics of pre-game prayer during nation anthem

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Dwayne Allen

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dwayne Allen appeared in a video Tuesday night to respond to recent criticism for taking his normal knee at the end of the national anthem.

The backlash seems to be due to a misunderstanding. During NBC broadcast of Sunday’s game against the Texans, sportscaster Al Michaels insinuated the Colts tight was kneeling out of protest and not prayer.

“And the only man to take a knee, Dwayne Allen, the tight end for the Indianapolis Colts,” Michaels said.

The comment spurred online attention from people thinking Allen was kneeling the whole time out of protest, like many have done to protest police violence against black people. The act of protest seemed to gain momentum when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started to do it earlier this year.

Allen had previously explained why he takes a knee, but he once again wanted to make sure his intentions were clear.

“For every game of my career, I have taken a knee towards the end of our anthem to say a prayer for every man that steps foot on that field,” said Allen in a video posted to

Allen says he plans to continue to kneel and pray, because he wants the world to be a better place.

“What I want most is for this world to be a better place for everyone who lives in it. For this country to be a better America for everyone who lives in it. And for those reasons, I’ll continue to kneel and I’ll continue to pray. I love this country. I love everyone that lives in it. Go Colts.”

During Sunday’s game, NBC did later explain Allen’s kneel down.

“By the way, we told you earlier that (Allen) took a knee for the national anthem,” said sideline reporter Michele Tafoya. “The Colts tell us that’s just a prayer he says at the end of the anthem. He’s always done that. It’s not a protest.”

On Wednesday, the Indy Sports Central team spoke with Allen about the online backlash.

“Whether I was protesting or not, it doesn’t give others that right to use those words of hate against me,” said Allen. “Don’t use words of hate to try and harm someone.”

If you want to talk about my play, how I’m often injured, yeah that’s part of the territory. I get it, but to use words to try and bring me down ’cause you thought I was protesting something and you want to mask the hate that’s really in your heart, the hatred under false pretenses of patriotism, that’s not right,” Allen. “That’s not right to the millions of patriots who do show patriotism in the right way.”

As for Allen’s relationship with Kaepernick, he says doesn’t have one, but he is apart of the same NFL brotherhood. Allen believes Kaepernick’s protest may have unintentionally created a rift between people of color in the U.S.

“I believe his demonstration started so that he could shed light on the inequalities that we have between people of color in this country,” said Allen. “And going forward what we have, because of that demonstration, was that we’ve created a bigger rift between people of color in our country.

“I want to shed light on that issue and hopefully as a great nation, we can come to a place where we all say enough and we gather together and we say we do have the ability to show what true patriotism is and that’s what we are going to do, instead of sharing hate,” said Allen.

Appreciate the support:

Tuesday, owner Jim Irsay voiced his support for coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson amid growing angst among the Colts fan base. Criticism has increased as the team has gotten off to a 2-4 start.

Pagano insisted he didn’t hear of Irsay’s comments and quickly added, “but that’s never a bad thing.’’

Medical update:

Wednesday represented one of the deepest injury reports of the season. Sixteen of the 53 players on the active roster either did not practice or were limited.

Those who did not practice because of injury: Allen (ankle), defensive lineman Henry Anderson (knee), cornerback Darius Butler (calf/hamstring), wide receivers Donte Moncrief (shoulder) and Phillip Dorsett (foot/hamstring), safety T.J. Green (knee), linebacker Curt Maggitt (ankle), defensive end Zach Kerr (ankle) and guard Jack Mewhort (triceps).

Those who were held out for rest: linebacker Robert Mathis, running back Frank Gore, cornerback Vontae Davis, defensive end Kendall Langford and safety Mike Adams.

Those who were limited: wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (hip) and offensive lineman Jon Harrison (illness).

Pagano revealed wide receiver/kick returner Quan Bray was placed on the injured reserve list Tuesday after he suffered a fractured ankle at Houston.

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