Dwayne Allen defends decision to take knee during national anthem

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2015, Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (83) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Allen is finally getting his wish. Andrew Luck is looking his way a little more often, and the tight ends suddenly have a more prominent role in the Indianapolis Colts’ offense. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As players around the league continue take a knee during the national anthem in a protest led by Colin Kaepernick, Colts tight end Dwayne Allen has a different reason for kneeling towards the end of the song.

“I was not protesting, I was praying. But whether I was protesting or not, it doesn’t give the right for others to use those words of hate against me,” said Dwayne Allen.

During Sunday night’s prime-time game, NBC’s cameras caught Allen kneeling in prayer on the field. Allen received harsh criticism on social media, and took to Colts.com this week to explain himself.

“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 that lives in it,” said Allen.

This pregame tradition for Allen started years ago.

“Every game since 2012. September 11 I believe when we started this journey in Chicago,” explained Allen. “Since then on I’ve been taking a knee at that exact moment of the anthem, towards the end of the anthem, just to say a prayer for every man and woman that steps foot on that field, for protection, for healing if they need it. It’s just something that I’ve always done.”

Meanwhile back on the field, the Horseshoe will have to face the Titans on the road without Dwayne Allen, who sprained his ankle against the Texans. Despite injuries and 0-2 AFC South record, the locker room has strong feelings that they can still win this division.

“The only people that believe is in the locker room which is okay and is okay with me, but it’s a long season, we’re have this thing every week especially if we lose it’s like ‘what’re we going to do next?’ No, we have to win. The bottom line is we have to win,” said Mike Adams.

You hear a passionate Mike Adams there, and including this weekend’s game against Tennessee, the Colts have four division games left this season. Not to mention, they have a nine game win streak over the Titans. A reminder of their past dominance over the AFC South and how far they’ve come from that success.