Texans' anthem etiquette irks Jeremy Shockey

To a man, the Houston Texans credited the 5-9 Carolina Panthers with outplaying them in every aspect of the game Sunday afternoon. But flamboyant tight end Jeremy Shockey still felt the need to kick a playoff-bound team when it was down.

So Shockey accused the Texans of disrespecting the "Star Spangled Banner" before their 28-13 loss at Reliant Stadium. He even credited it with some extra motivation for the upset.

"Personally myself, I was pretty upset they weren't showing respect to America during the National Anthem," Shockey said after the game. "There were about 10 (Texan) players who didn't put their arm across their chest. A couple of guys saw that. This is America.

"I haven't seen it anywhere else in the NFL, but I don't know how you forget something like that."

Shockey's charge came so far out of left field that it could barely fit into Reliant, even on a day when the roof was closed. Reporters aren't typically watching players during the National Anthem so it's hard to say that he is completely wrong. But players are often bouncing on their feet during the National Anthem, pumping themselves up for the game.

As long as everyone is standing for the song, no one keeps score of who is holding their arm across their chest.

Except apparently Jeremy Shockey. Forget being a tight end who has often failed to live up to the potential that made him the 14th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Shockey is the head of the American Patriot Police. Self anointed.

He obviously wasn't in Reliant for the Sept. 11 opener when the Texans put on a moving, flag-filled pregame ceremony that involved several players. DeMeco Ryans lead the Texans out onto the field, waving a gigantic American flag that day.

It's absurd to call Houston's NFL franchise unpatriotic. On the very day that Shockey made his charges, the Texans surprised the widow of a Marine with a halftime presentation that let her know she'd be receiving a new mortgage-free, custom-built home through Operation FINALLY HOME. Sara Wood and her 5-year-old son Landon will be moving into the new house.

Wood's husband, Marine staff sergeant Scott Wood, was killed in the line of duty.

Shockey wasn't interested in that though. Instead, he says he saw disrespect from the Texans toward the country that he loves.

Whether Shockey was really mad about the National Anthem or the crushing hit Ryans delivered to him, separating him from the football on one memorable play, is a matter for debate. For Shockey made sure to point out that he also beat Ryans on a touchdown catch, while pretending not to know the linebacker's name.

"It was simple play," Shockey said of the touchdown, "And I guess, what his name — Ryans, DeMarco Ryans, what's his name? — DeMeco Ryans couldn't make a play and it was an easy touchdown."

Hey, no one's ever employed Jeremy Shockey for his brain. He's got his eyes on you during the National Anthem though. And he's like Santa Claus. He's making a list.

Beware, NFL. Beware.

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