After the Titans stayed in the locker room for the anthem last week, Delanie Walker said fans who felt disrespected shouldn't come to the games.
Titans tight end Delanie Walker said in an instagram post Thursday that he and his family have received death threats after his comments last week following the Titans staying in the locker room during the national anthem before their game against the Seahawks.
View this post on Instagram
The Tennessee Titans fans are the best in the NFL. What we do on the field every Sunday would mean nothing without knowing we are supported by the city of Nashville and the fans that have been by our side over the years. One of the many things I gained from spending time in the Middle East on the NFL’s USO Tour this spring, is an appreciation for America’s core values and an even greater appreciation for the men and women that defend those values. In being asked about our team’s decision on Sunday to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem, I used strong words to defend our right to make our own choices. Both my choice to spark dialogue for positive change and the fans’ choice to attend our games. It’s that freedom of choice that makes our democracy the envy of many around the world. 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. I am proud to represent the many faces of Titans fans and believe that only through a more respectful discourse can we achieves the goals of unity, peace and racial equality that I know we all strive for. Titan Up
According to Jason Wolf of USA Today, Walker said if fans feel they are being disrespected by the Titans' actions, then don't come to the games.
First off, I’m going to say this: We’re not disrespecting the military, the men and women that serve in the Army. That’s not what it’s all about. If you look at most of the guys in here – 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.
The Titans were one of three teams to stay off the field during the anthem last week. The Seahawks also stayed in the locker room, leaving both sidelines empty during the anthem before Seattle and Tennessee faced off. The Pittsburgh Steelers also didn't come to on th field and instead waited in the tunnel in Chicago while the anthem was played.
After Donald Trump criticized players who were protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the anthem, an overwhelming number of players and teams made some sort of demonstration, either sitting, kneeling, linking arm or not coming out for the national anthem.
On Thursday, both the Packers and Bears players linked arms while on their respective sidelines during the anthem.