Talk about tone deaf. On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports reported that Titans tight end Delanie Walker has a short message for those who don’t like NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest Donald Trump and perceived oppression: Bye.
“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,” Walker said, according to the Tennessean. “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.”
According to Yahoo Sports:
The Titans were among three teams that skipped the national anthem Sunday after President Donald Trump’s tweets. The President has predicted a backlash against the NFL in the wake of the protests, which included dozens of NFL players taking a knee during the anthem in Week 3.
““That’s their choice [not to watch],” cornerback Logan Ryan said. “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.”
Walker’s message didn’t sit too well with many:
Oh really? Ok. Bye to u jackass
Titans' Delanie Walker: 'No one's telling you to come to the game' https://t.co/gq65ud2Vbs
— JulieInOrlando (@PoliticalBurst) September 29, 2017
What about protesting games in Chicago. Black on black crime 100 💯 shootings a week??! Where ya at Delanie????
— Andrew Holden (@AndrewHolden22) September 28, 2017
— Opinion Radio (@OpinionRadio) September 28, 2017
— ᴀᴀʀᴏɴᴊʜɪʟʟ (@aaronjhill) September 27, 2017
Arrogant NFL players say BYE! We don't care if you watch or not. Were not standing, don't like it, too frigging bad! https://t.co/XuxKdzjWKd
— Fred & CathyDietrich (@Fred_Cathy_Ret) September 28, 2017
Jennifer Lawrence: Don't come to my movies
Stephen Colbert: Don't watch the Emmy's
Delanie Walker: Don't come to my games
Dumb, Dumb, Dumb!
— Cari Kelemen 🇺🇸 (@KelemenCari) September 29, 2017
The protests have angered many across the country, from well-known fans like Rush Limbaugh to average Americans who have expressed their feelings by burning NFL gear and tickets.
Unfortunately, it seems some have taken things a bit too far.
The Tennessean reported Thursday that Walker said he and his family have allegedly received death threats over his message to fans.
In a post on social media, Walker wrote:
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.
The report went on to say the team is uncertain how it will handle the anthem this Sunday at Houston.
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