As one news site put it, Tennessee Titans player Delanie Walker has one word for fans who don't like the protests: "Bye."
“First off, I’m going to say this: We’re not disrespecting the military, the men and woman that serve in the Army. That’s not what it’s all about,” Walker said, reported The Tennessean newspaper. “I’ve been in the USO. I support the troops. This is not about that. It’s about equal rights, and that’s all everyone is trying to show, is that we all care about each other.”
“And the fans that don’t want to come to the game? I mean, OK. Bye. I mean, if you feel that’s something, we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the game. You don’t have to. No one’s telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom of choice to do that,” said Walker, a tight end who joined Tennessee in 2013.
Walker belongs to one of three teams who recently skipped the national anthem. All teams decided to stay in their locker rooms or in the stadium tunnel. Moreover, in recent days, at least 200 NFL players have protested the national anthem in some way.
For some NFL players, it turns out that if you don't agree with their protests, they don't want your viewership.
“That’s their choice [not to watch],” said cornerback Logan Ryan, according to The Epoch Times. “That’s the beauty of this country. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and everyone’s opinion is equal. So right, wrong or indifferent, that’s the beauty of this country—that everyone should have equal rights and equal opinions on what they want. If they don’t want to watch, that’s their choice. That’s perfect.”
The NFL has been criticized for national anthem protests since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during a 2016 preseason game. Kaepernick claimed he was protesting racial injustice and police brutality. Trump has long been upset about the NFL protests, believing that they are disrespectful to both the flag and the troops. But it wasn't until Saturday that Trump finally said something in a rally, and it quickly captured headlines.
You can watch President Trump's remarks at the video below.
Trump's comment on Saturday seemed to escalate the controversy. Beforehand the issue was mainly talked about only in the conservative news media. But now NFL protests seem to be the most widespread news story of the week. And on top of that, the NFL protests themselves seem to be dramatically escalating. Players throughout the day on Sunday have begun kneeling at games during the anthem, with three teams choosing to skip it altogether.
In response to critical articles published in the media, as well as the backlash on social media, Delanie Walker has issued an official reply on Twitter: "Lol. Y'all mad?"
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