In football parlance, “taking a knee” means ending a play on contact usually to run the clock down and avoid losing a lead or the game itself. In the past year or so, taking a knee during the national anthem has become a symbol for fighting police brutality and racism thanks to the stance taken by Colin Kaepernick. This time, Menelik Watson of the Denver Broncos gave the phrase a whole new meaning, at least when done on the football field.
Watson took a knee to propose to his girlfriend during the third quarter of the Broncos game against the Green Bay Packers played at the Sports Authority Field in Denver. The NFL player’s girlfriend, Azania Stewart, was seated near the Denver sideline and got the surprise of her life when Watson approached the stands and suddenly dropped to his knees.
Watson, the 28-year-old offensive tackle, and Stewart, a professional basketball player, have been together for a couple of years now though they have, in fact, known each other since they were only 14-years-old. Watson told the Denver Post that he first saw Stewart at a basketball camp in London while they were still teenagers. Stewart caught the attention of Watson though he “didn’t have the confidence then to say anything to her.” That wasn’t the case last Saturday.
DenverBroncos.com reported that Watson has been contemplating on asking for Stewart’s hand. He figured that the pre-season game was the perfect opportunity to take a knee and propose. Stewart, who hails from Great Britain and is part of the British women’s national basketball team, is leaving the next day to start a new basketball season in a different country. The 6’5″ former Florida Gators center will be playing for TTT Riga, a Latvian team. She previously played for the Adelaide Lightning in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League or WNBL.
The rest of the Denver Broncos team weren’t in on Watson’s plan to propose to his girlfriend. “No one knew but me,” explained the Florida State alum.
Trevor Siemian, Denver’s quarterback, confirmed this when he said none of them “had any idea” though he did say that what Watson did “was very cool.”
“That was a surprise for sure. I can’t say I was expecting that or have seen that before. But I’m happy for them both, obviously.”
The Broncos posted a photo of Watson while taking a knee in front of an obviously stunned yet elated Stewart. Stewart, who was wearing her beau’s jersey, can be seen holding on to her mouth in disbelief while a couple of her friends were hugging her.
“I’m so excited. I didn’t know anything. He surprised me.”
Stewart also said that Watson told her he had a ring with him but didn’t bring it out to the field at halftime. Watson got to show her the ring after the game.
The team’s official Twitter account also informed supporters that Stewart said “yes” to Watson. The Broncos also offered their congratulations to the couple and future Mr. and Mrs. Stewart-Watson.
The Broncos won the game, 20-17.
[Featured Image by David Zalubowski/AP Images]