Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes fired back at Jim Kelly on Monday, saying it was "very unacceptable" how the Hall of Fame quarterback posted on social media Sunday night about the team's anthem protest, and then Monday morning said in a radio interview that he had "lost a lot of respect" for running back LeSean McCoy.
"I was very disappointed," Hughes said Monday in blunt comments about perhaps the most recognizable player in team history. "I was very disappointed in how he approached the whole situation. Our team came together and we united as a front, as an organization as to how we were going to approach the national anthem. If Jim was going to do what he did then he should have came to the team and let us know his feelings. He should have let us know how he was going to do the national anthem, because we didn't know he was going to be there from the team's perspective.
"So for him to carry on in this manner, I'm really confused and I'm really upset, because if this is something how he felt and if this is truly what he felt and what was on his heart, he should have came to the team and he should have approached that, instead of making this a public matter, and doing that on his social page. It was not cool. Very unacceptable. If he has things to say about us as a team, come talk to us."
Hughes said he was unaware that Kelly was going to join the Bills on the field for the anthem. While it was performed, Kelly raised his Bills hat in the air with his left hand.
"For him to walk on the sideline, do exactly what he did was unacceptable, because if he felt a certain way about a player on this team, come to the team, and let's address it," he said.
Asked whether he would be comfortable with Kelly being on the sidelines at future home games, Hughes said: "Half the time I don't even realize he's there until it was pointed out yesterday after the display of actions that he did, it was pointed out and brought to my attention."
"I'm not sure I understand it. We are the 2017 Buffalo Bills. We're focused on the future, we're focused on winning games. If he wants to offer anything of encouragement to our team, to our quarterbacks, to our offense, please provide that. We could use all the encouragement we need to figure out how they won games back in those days and be successful as they were. But we're trying to bring the team together, we're trying to bring the community together, we're trying to bring a nation together. By dividing us, dividing the team, that doesn't work."