Not surprisingly, the national anthem stir from Sunday’s Tennessee Titans’ win over the Seattle Seahawks was still a major topic of conversation on Monday.
On Monday, there was a backlash of comments regarding the Titans and Seahawks mutual decision to remain in their respective locker rooms during the playing of the national anthem.
Questions on Monday included such issues as the backlash teams and players have received as a result of anthem gestures not just in Nashville, but all around the NFL. Also, where, if anywhere, does the protest go beyond this past week’s game. And when and how was the decision arrived at, especially in light of comments on social media from receiver Eric Decker’s wife, singer Jessie James Decker, that her husband was unaware of the decision to stay in until it was too late and that he wanted to take the field and stand for the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
As for the backlash regarding the Titans’ decision not to be on the field for the anthem, tight end Delanie Walker said the situation was not about disrespecting the flag or the military, but had strong words for fans who felt slighted by the team’s pre-game gesture.
“First off, I’m going to say this. We’re not disrespecting the military, the men and woman who served. That’s not what it’s all about. If you look at most of the guys in here – I’ve been to the USO. I support our troops. It’s not about that,” Walker said. “It’s about equal rights and everyone is trying to show that we all care about each other. And the fans that don’t want to come to the games, OK, bye. I mean if you feel that’s something where we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the games. You don’t have to. No one is telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom and your choice to do that.”
As for where it goes now, Walker, who was one of only a few players available during the open locker room period Monday, he said that will have to be discussed.
“I’m really not sure with that situation. I know that we made a statement this last Sunday – the whole NFL did. I think that we were trying to get our point across that we are united in this league and we will not be separated. So we’ll see what happens. I’m really not sure,” he said. “We’re gonna have to talk amongst the team, and I’m sure other teams are going to be doing the same thing to try and figure out where we’re going to go after this.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey didn’t delve any further into the matter on Monday, and tried to move on when asked about the Decker report, which was reported by TMZ.com.
“Who reported it?” he asked the questioner, and then when told TMZ, replied, “And who is that?”
When asked if Decker knew of the plan to sit out the anthem in the locker room, Mularkey said, “That’s what I was told, yes.”
Earlier on Monday, the TMZ report quoted Jessie James Decker as saying, “”My husband was not made aware it was time to go out for the game,” she said. “Unfortunately a decision was made for him without him knowing.”
According to what Walker said Sunday and reiterated on Monday, Titans and Seahawks players made the decision through texting to stay in the locker room.
Mularkey said he would not have any further comment regarding the anthem flap.
“Yesterday I made a statement at the end of my press conference. We made a statement as an organization, and I made a statement at the end of it, and I’ll stick with what I said at the end of it, and I’m not going to go any further than that,” Mularkey said.