For the most part, Bears players have been quiet about the election — both in interviews and on social media — but that changed quickly Thursday after quarterback Jay Cutler was asked about Donald Trump’s victory.
“I’m happy with the results. I mean, I’ve supported Trump for a while,” Cutler said. “I’m not going to dive into it, I know it’s a sensitive issue, but I like where it’s going.”
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No other player in the Bears locker room revealed their vote (out of respect, none were asked to), but some did react to the country’s election.
“With our system that’s in place, I think, and I’m hoping, that checks and balances and everything will work out the way it was drawn out to do,” right guard Kyle Long said. “Hopefully we can just kind of get together, you know, that’s the big thing. Love one another. There’s no reason to not like somebody if you don’t know them, or feel some certain way about some other type of person. Give somebody a chance. That’s what I’ve found and I’ve made a lot of friends because of it.”
Unity was a common theme expressed inside the locker room.
“We got a guy leading our country now who nobody knows what’s going to happen, but hopefully he surrounds himself with people that help us move forward as a country — and a united country,” tight end Zach Miller said.
Running back Jordan Howard said he was unaware of Cutler’s support for Trump, while linebacker Jerrell Freeman said he respected the quarterback’s opinion.
“I mean, everybody has their own beliefs and their own reasons for their beliefs,” Freeman said. “I just respect everybody’s opinion. If my opinion is different from his or not, I mean, you just gotta respect everybody. Respect everybody’s opinion. Everybody has their right.”
NFL locker rooms are diverse work places full of players from different backgrounds, but Miller said the election hasn’t divided the team.
“You got a group of guys in here that are focused on playing football,” Miller said. “It’s a brotherhood. As you know, families don’t always get along. That’s just how we are. Brothers fight. But at the end of the day, I think we all get along and love each other through football.”
Long indicated that the close-knit, diverse locker room helps provide understanding of how different people have reacted to Trump becoming president.
“It’s like we’re given access to stories and experiences that we wouldn’t be given access to if we were living in solidarity,” Long said. “I’d say that being in a locker room with the number of guys we have in here coming from the multitude of backgrounds they have, you get an understanding and an appreciation and a respect for the things that certain people have to go through, for whatever reason it is, right or wrong, and it kind of gives you a little bit of perspective and makes you understand how little acts of kindness — little acts of just going out of your way to be nice to somebody — can go a long way.”
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee was the only Bears player to comment on Wednesday, in the immediate aftermath of the election:
“I’ve been talking to God all day. I don’t know what everybody else has been doing. I talk to God all day, every day. I talk to Sam (Acho) sometimes and a lot of my teammates, but I was talking to God and thanking him for the day and that was about it.”
Freeman said he has heard conversations “on both sides” among teammates and said “there’s a mutual respect for everybody.”
“Whoever is in that office, we gotta hope that they do great for everybody here,” Freeman said. “Regardless of who won, we can’t wish them bad because we’d just be wishing bad on ourselves, right? We just gotta pray.”
Miller’s message? Just do better.
“I understand the platform that we have and who we are, but we’re just like everybody else. You know what I mean? And I want everybody to just do better,” he said. “We don’t need to tear people down. We’re not all going to get along. We don’t all have to agree with each other, but in that sense, we don’t have to pick at each other. We don’t have to come at each other in a negative manner. I think we could do better collectively.”
And to bring some levity to an otherwise serious conversation, Miller added: “I put Jay Cutler as a write-in on my ballot for president.”
To be 100 percent clear, he was kidding.