HOUSTON - DECEMBER 18: Tigh-end Jeremy Shockey #80 of the Carolina Panthers taunts the Houston Texans bench after a Carolina score at Reliant Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Texans DeMeco Ryans responds to Panthers' tight end after accusations Texans players ignored a patriotic duty.
Carolina Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey has been virtually silent since his slow decline in production moved the former Giants and Saints tight end to Charlotte, but the former Pro Bowler lashed out at the Houston Texans - all of them - for what he perceived as disrespect towards America during the national anthem before Sunday's Panthers / Texans game at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Shockey told reporters after the Panthers' 28-13 win that he observed several Texans players not holding a hand over their heart, a customary gesture during the National Anthem, but not required by the league. Courtesy ESPN:
"I was pretty upset in the way they weren't showing respect to America during the national anthem," Shockey said. "This is America and you should at least give respect to America."
Shockey's statements didn't make their way back to the Texans' locker room before it closed, and the team had no comment. Shockey's rant came in response to a reporter's question about the Texans' defense.
"This is America and this is just a game and they should not only be very proud of this country, but very gifted to be living here," Shockey said. "Maybe they just forgot to do it or something, but I don't see how you could forget to do that."
The Houston Chronicle's John McClain quoted Shockey as saying he saw "10 or so" Texans players who didn't cross their hearts, and that he's never seen that anywhere else in the NFL. McClain caught up with Houston linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who fired back:
"If he’s so patriotic, why was he looking at our bench instead of the flag?" Ryans said. "Where did he come up with the number 10? Was he counting? Why was he paying attention to us during the national anthem?"
Shockey then took to Twitter after the game, continuing his patriotic comments before offering somewhat of an apology after arguing with other Twitter users. Neither team has issued an official comment.