In an interview with the Tennessean, NFL tight end Delanie Walker took a shot at football fans who are willfully misinterpreting protests during the national anthem, saying they don’t need to come to the games if they can’t deal with it.
Last Sunday, Walker’s team, the Tennessee Titans, elected to stay in the locker room during the anthem as the majority of NFL team either locked arms on took a knee in solidarity with players attacked by President Donald Trump.
In the interview, Walker said that fans — led by Trump — want to believe that they are disrespecting the military, when the protests are actually about civil rights.
“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 explained. “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.”
Walker then took fans who are threatening to boycott to task, saying, “OK, bye.”
“The fans that don’t want to come to the game? I mean, OK. Bye,” he stated. “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.”
Teammate Logan Ryan backed Walker up, saying, “That’s their choice.”
“That’s the beauty of this country,” Ryan said. “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.”
You can read more player reactions here.