Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews tweeted and then quickly that he “will be done playing football” in response to a question of what he would do if the NFL forces players to stand for the national anthem.
Matthews, who has stayed inside the Titans locker room the past two weeks, had said prior to that that he would not stand for the anthem again until President Donald Trump apologized for remarks made criticizing players who kneel for the national anthem. The Titans stayed inside the locker room, as did their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, on the first Sunday after the President’s remarks, drawing a backlash and some boos when they came out of the tunnel.
The question was posed on social media to Matthews by a WSMV news producer, Matt Parker, and was soon deleted after the reply was made. Matthews was not in the Titans’ locker room Thursday during media availability.
Matthews was a college teammate at Nevada of Colin Kaepernick, who started the movement of protesting racial injustice by sitting (and later kneeling) for the anthem last year.
The NFL and NFL Players Association is scheduled to meet next week to discuss the anthem issue. Commissioner Roger Goodell came out this week and there has been no policy change yet regarding the league’s stance on the anthem. But the league is hoping to move past the lingering controversy that has divided football fans largely along political lines.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey was asked Thursday about Matthews’ tweet, and he said he had not talked to the receiver yet about it.
“Actually I just learned about it a few minutes ago from (Titans media relations director) Robbie (Bohren). I haven’t talked to Rishard (Matthews). I haven’t really had a chance to think about it to even comment about it. I just found out,” Mularkey said.