Longtime Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo says he's changed his stance regarding players kneeling during the national anthem.
Izzo revealed that after discussions with past Spartans players, including Magic Johnson, Greg Kesler, Steve Smith, and Mateen Cleaves, the 65-year-old has now come to appreciate the peaceful protest made prominent by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
"Listen, I learn lessons, too. And I'm still learning at this age," Izzo said on 97.1 FM The Ticket's "Jamie and Stoney" on Tuesday. "I talked to all those people to try to get a good feel. And what I realized is, I wasn't real happy with the Colin Kaepernick thing when it happened.
"I guess, like a lot of people, I looked at it as, what are we doing? The flag, all this stuff. And yet, as I look back on it, how ignorant am I? Because that was a peaceful protest."
Kaepernick first began taking a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to silently protest police brutality and the oppression of Black people in the United States.
Izzo said earlier this week that he previously considered protests during the anthem to be disrespectful to the military.
"When I look back, I can't say when it all happened with Colin Kaepernick that I agreed with it," he said Monday on "Tiki and Tierney" on CBS Sports Radio. "I can't say I did. I do a lot of military stuff. But like a lot of people, (I was) semi-uneducated."
On Tuesday, Izzo said players taking a knee reminded him of people burning the U.S. flag during the 1960s, a form of protest he still doesn't agree with.
However, he changed his opinion following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May.
"I feel like I spend a lot of time in the inner cities and around different people, and always felt like I had a good relationship," he said. "But when I saw what I saw with George Floyd, it sickened me. ... A human life is a human life and we're treating it like it's nothing."