FOXBORO, Mass. — A day after 18 New England Patriots were booed by fans at Gillette Stadium for kneeling during the national anthem, many of those players were gathered at Bar Louie. They were there to support Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s “Monday Night Football” Watch Party, raising money for the American Diabetes Association.
These are guys who play under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who famously chanted “No days off” two days after the Super Bowl. So, needless to say, there aren’t many nights they can stay out and enjoy themselves. And many of them started their night down Route 1 in Dedham, Mass., at Kings to support the Mayo Bowl, an event hosted by James White to raise money benefitting Boston Medical Center.
Diabetes hits close to home for Hightower, whose mother was diagnosed with the disorder in 2015. Fans, who were able to take a picture with Hightower and get an autograph from one of the Patriots players, packed the restaurant and nearly 30 of Hightower’s teammates also attended the event.
“It means a lot to me and a lot to my mom and my family and everybody around me in my corner,” Hightower said. “They know how big this means to me and how much diabetes has affected my family. I try to do my part, use my platform and try to promote awareness.”
Hightower hasn’t spoken to the media nor appeared in a game since suffering a knee injury in Week 1. He was moving around well at the charity event, however.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m working each and every day. The night’s not for that, but hopefully looking forward to moving forward this week. Hopefully, I’ll be back out there.”
Hightower’s knee injury was supposed to be minor. He was limited in practice last although it sounds like he could be back Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Hightower wasn’t able to join his teammates on the sideline Sunday in the Patriots’ 36-33 win over the Houston Texans nor for their protest during the national anthem. He did speak briefly on the topic during his event.
“I think there were a lot of mixed emotions and feelings for what guys were out there standing for,” Hightower said. “It’s different, but we talked about that today. We want to be unified as a team. There’s no disrespect towards the flag at all, first and foremost, no matter which way you look at it. Nobody in that locker room means to disrespect the flag or the military at all. Everybody has different views in that locker room. We try to be unified, so we’re not tearing anything apart out there.”
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images
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