‘I Can’t Kneel During The Anthem,’ Says Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio Who Just Became A U.S. Citizen
Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio officially became a U.S. citizen. Kouandjio and his family came to the United States from Cameroon 19 years ago. On Thursday, the tackle took the Oath of Allegiance and led the Pledge of Allegiance as he and 33 other people from 24 nations become U.S. citizens.
After the ceremony the Alabama standout shouted, “Go Bills, and Roll Tide!”
His brother, Arie Kouandjio, a guard for the Washington Redskins, received his citizenship about a month ago.
Kouandjio’s journey to citizenship was a long one, but it’s something he treasures. His family’s situation Cameroon wasn’t as pleasant as his life in America.
“My father still tells stories of running away from the violence, hiding out in the woods, his baby sister on his back,” Kouandjio told the Buffalo News. “He lived in a far different world.”
Kouandjio has too much love for his new country to protest the national anthem.
“I can’t kneel during the anthem,” Kouandjio said. “I don’t blame Colin Kaepernick for doing what he did. But for me, I have too much respect for a flag and anthem that represent freedom and liberty.”
“I love this country,” he said. “Me myself, I’ll just tell you, I’m a Christian, and I feel like the forefathers of this country built this constitution around Christian values — Christian values like freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Kouandjio believes America has a “moral center” unlike any other in the world.
The 6-foot, 7-inch mountain of a man who weighs 322 pounds said he’s looking forward to the 2020 presidential election, and while he didn’t care much for Donald Trump he will accept him as his next President.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” said Kouandjio. ‘That’s part of my faith.”