With tension mounting regarding the national anthem flap and the corresponding remarks from President Donald Trump earlier in the week, many wondered what types of statement would be made by whom on Sunday around the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks both mutually agreed to do nothing on the field by having both clubs stay in the locker rooms while the national anthem was sung by Meghan Linsey.
Linsey finished the anthem and was booed herself by fans after she and her accompanying guitarist took a knee following their performance.
As for the players, the Titans say they wanted to give a show of unity from inside the locker room, with support from controlling owner Amy Adam Strunk and head coach Mike Mularkey over staying inside rather than being on the sideline for “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Several Titans explained the gesture following the game, as to how the idea came about and the reasoning behind it.
“We had a group text message with the Seattle Seahawks, and we talked about it among the team,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “Coaches got involved and we came up with a solution that would be perfect. Have everybody stay in the locker room.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said it was not done with any intent of disrespect for the country for the flag.
“We made a statement about it, the teams had talked,” Mularkey said. “We’re unified as a team. It had nothing to do with disrespect to the anthem or the flag or this country. It did not.
“We don’t appreciate some of the things coming out of Washington, it was more about that. I just want to make it clear – this is a team. Watch them every Sunday how they line up for the national anthem. Don’t tell me this team isn’t proud of the this country and this flag.”
Other Titans players spoke about the support of the coaching staff and the management regarding the decision to stay inside. Strunk even addressed the team about the matter.
“We talked about this as a team in the locker room (this morning) Amy stood behind us. We love Amy,” running back David Fluellen said. “She was supportive of us the whole time. She addressed us. She told us that she would stand by us. We’re a family, we’re a team here, and we’re going to stick together as a team. And we came up that conclusion.
“She addressed us and supported us. She was in here with us the whole time.”
Tackle Taylor Lewan said he sees both sides of the issues regarding the anthem and being patriotic versus calling attention to societal issues.
“At the end of the day, there’s an argument about a lot of things that we have to look in the mirror in America and fix about ourselves. But at the same time there are a lot of people that have died for this country and are fighting for this country to be free that we need to respect as well,” Lewan said. “So anytime something like this comes up, I do my best to put myself on both sides of the fence and try to see it from all angles. It’s hard for me to pick one side or the other. I think there’s good reasons for both, but at the end of the day, as long as the troops are getting their respect and the equality is where it needs to be, I think that’s the happy medium we need to find. It going to take a lot of work to get there. It’s going to take everybody doing their part.”