Yelich elaborates on national anthem tweet

ATLANTA -- Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich on Monday explained his tweet from Sunday night when he was critical of one of four Miami Dolphins players for kneeling during the national anthem prior to their game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Yelich doesn't take issue with the message the NFL players are making to improve racial equality, but he disagrees with their method.

"I don't disagree with the message that they're trying to get across," Yelich said at Turner Field before Miami faced the Braves on Monday. "I agree that there needs to be change in this country. I actually agree with them with what they are protesting. I disagree on how they're going about it, as do a lot of people in this country."

At the Dolphins' game, Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas each took a knee for the anthem.

On Sunday, Yelich retweeted a video of Stills dropping a likely touchdown pass and wrote: "Too worried about kneeling during the anthem #karma."

Yelich's brother is in the Marines, and the 24-year-old outfielder made it clear that he believes players should stand for the national anthem. He was also upset that the protests took place 15 years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is something I feel very strongly about," Yelich said. "The national anthem means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family. It means a lot to a lot of people in this country. It's not that I don't agree with their message, because I do. I just disagree with the way they are protesting and the manner in which they're going about it."

Yelich repeated players could use other ways -- like calling a press conference or speaking out to media who are covering the teams -- on social issues. But he takes issue to protests on Sept. 11.

"I feel like, on that day, maybe we can all kind of just come together and put protests off for a week and show support together as a country," Yelich said. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but that's also what makes this country great. People have the right to express their opinions. They expressed theirs, I expressed mine. Some may like me for it, may not like me for it, just like some people may like them for it and may not. That's what makes this place great. That's just how I felt about it."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.