The National Football League has been in the midst of a major controversy in recent days regarding hundreds of players protesting during the national anthem. Although the protesting began with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality and racial inequality, the kneeling became another anti-Trump movement, practically overnight.
After President Trump suggested that all professional football players who kneel during the anthem should be fired with a controversial statement, the number of participants to take a knee during the “Star Spangled Banner” drastically increased. In one of his rally speeches to Trump supporters, Trump commented, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'get that [SOB] off the field right now; he's fired’."
Trump was immediately under fire by the Left, but on the other hand, the majority of Republicans understood his brutally honest remark. Conservatives agree that these players are disrespecting the American flag and those in the U.S. military who put their heart and soul into serving our country.
In an attempt to “unite,” several teams knelt or sat on the ground, locked arms without putting their hand on their heart, or stayed off of the field altogether during the time of the national anthem. Among those teams included the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and others who stayed in the locker room instead of standing up proudly for America’s infamous theme song.
After certain football players decided to join in on the controversial protesting, several have received death threats. NFL star Delanie Walker, the 33-year-old tight end for the Titans who began his professional football career in 2006, shared his personal experience with the death threats against him and his family, referring to the situation as truly “heartbreaking.”
Those making death threats targeted Walker after the legendary tight end sent a message out to their fans. ESPN reported Walker's comment, "Fans that don't want to come to the game? OK, bye. If you feel 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."
In an Instagram post, Walker issued a response. He discussed how his trip to the Middle East on the NFL’s USO tour taught him how to appreciate America’s core values and members of the military. His “strong words” to fans that defended the Titans’ choice to stay in the locker room during the anthem was stated in hope to “spark positive change” and allow fans to exercise their freedom of choice to still attend their football games.
He continued, “The death threats that my family and I have received since my comments are heartbreaking. The racist and violent words directed at me and my son only serve as another reminder that our country remains divided and full of hateful rhetoric. These words of hate will only fuel me in my efforts to continue my work reaching out to different community groups, listening to opposing voices, and honoring the men and women in the Armed Forces who risk their lives every day so that we may have this dialogue.”
Ultimately, Walker said he is striving to achieve unity, peace, and racial equality along with other team members. Even though the entire team as a whole has also received death threats, it appears that several players from the Titans will continue to protest. Read Walker's full statement posted on Instagram below.
What do you think about Delanie Walker’s statement and the death threats going on? Share your thoughts in our Facebook comments. In other sports news, an NFL star was rushed to the hospital during Thursday night’s game.