A Washington Redskins offensive linemen has earned the right to be called an American citizen.
Rainer Sabin of Al.com reports that guard Arie Kouandjio became a naturalized American citizen today.
His family came to America from Cameroon in 1998 when Kouandijo was six years old. “It means a lot to be going through this and be able to call myself an American,” Kouandijo told Sabin.
In May he began to devote himself so much to the process that he had to start missing team activities. That’s a dangerous move for a player like Kouandijo. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft, and he only suited up for three games during his rookie season. His brother, Cyrus, is a tackle for the Buffalo Bills and currently going through his own naturalization process.
Kouandijo’s story comes at an interesting time in the NFL. Many black players have been protest by sitting, kneeling, making fists, etc. during the national anthem. Kouandijo is black and while becoming a citizen is clearly of the utmost importance to him, he understands the point of view of those that want change.
“It’s these people’s right to do so,” Kouandijo told Sabin. “I just kind of really hope they’re doing for the right reasons in their heart…Part of my being [an] open [person] is that. I think people do stuff for dumb reasons all of the time and they make scenes for dumb reasons all of the time, which I have a problem with. But if they are doing it for real thought-out reasons they have in their hearts, then let’s talk about it.”