If people thought the recent NFL rule change meant to stop player protests during the National Anthem, they were wrong, according to a new report which focuses on Tennessee Titans star defensive end Jurrell Casey.
With less than three weeks to go until the start of preseason, Tennessee Titans star defensive end Jurrell Casey told CNN Sport on Wednesday in an exclusive interview he will remain on the field and protest during the US national anthem, while accepting any fines levied on him this season.
Casey also seemed to make it clear he’s directly protesting the flag.
“I’m going to take a fine this year, why not?” said Casey at an NFL promotional event in London. “I’m going to protest during the flag. That’s what I’m going to say now.”
Casey, coming off three straight Pro-Bowl appearances with the Titans, is the most prominent player so far to state his intention to flout the new NFL rules which dictate that players must either “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem” or remain out of public view in the locker room.
Judging from his comments, the college educated multi-millionaire may have developed his penchant for standing during English classes. If his grasp of opposing offensive players was as bad as his grasp of the language, it’s hard to imagine being offered any type of NFL contract at all.
“I’m going to take my fine,” Casey added. “It is what it is, I ain’t going to let them stop me from doing what I want to do. If they want to have these battles between players and organizations, this is the way it’s going to be.”
The veteran going into his eighth NFL season with the Titans noted that his actions will be a continuation from his protests last year, where he raised a fist after the anthem was played and “wanted to be respectful.”
The 28-year-old signed a $60.4 million, four-year extension with the Titans in 2017, including $40 million of it guaranteed, according to the NFL.
Titan fans calling in to WTN’s Nashville’s Morning News with Brian Wilson were unanimous in their sentiment bashing Casey’s promise to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.
Host Brian Wilson shared those sentiments, and express them eloquently in a five minute segment on his show.
“It’s not his team. It’s not his platform. It’s not his show. He is an employee of the Titans,” Wilson said of Casey.
“I just want to tell him, ‘Shut up and play football,” Wilson added.
You can hear the full five minute segment in the link included in this tweet from SuperTalk 99.7 WTN:
BRIAN’S TAKE ON JURRELL CASEY’S DECISION TO PROTEST https://t.co/79ZqvJwIQB
— SuperTalk 99.7 WTN (@997wtn) July 19, 2018
Casey also spoke out in favor of controversial non-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. But for now, the spotlight should seem to remain on Casey. Certainly, President Donald Trump who made the push back against the anti-American protests a national cause likely won’t be ignoring additional protests in the future. That puts the ball in the hands of, not just the NFL, but the Tennessee Titans, as well. fans are sure to want to know what Titans management and new head coach, Mike Vrabel, intend to do about it.
Kaepernick’s situation does not sit well with Casey.
“I think he definitely deserves it,” he said. “For all these trash quarterbacks you see that get a shot, that come in and sit on the bench all day, you got a starting quarterback that’s out there that can go out there and play.
The new rule has some leeway as to how teams can handle the issue. Titans’ controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk has endorsed player’s rights to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem as a form of protest. So far, she has yet to speak out on this new controversy, one not likely to go away, or go over big with Titan fans.
NFL fines will be billed to teams, who have it in their discretion to enforce pre-game anthem observation as they see fit.
The NFL did not specify the amount of the fines, and left open the option of fining players directly by imposing “appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
The rules were approved by all 32 NFL owners, with at least one — San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York — abstaining, while New York Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson said he would absorb any fines on behalf of his protesting players.
Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk has indicated she accepts her players’ rights to remain in the locker room, though has not made any public comment on those who protest on field.
It is unclear so far whether the NFL will have a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of protest surrounding the anthem, though at least one player appears set to test the boundaries.
The team already spit in fans’ faces once over the protests: Tennessee Titan on winning back fans angry over protests: ‘Don’t come to the game’. It was widely reported how unhappy Tennessee Titan fans were with the protests. One would imagine they’ll be anxious to hear what management has to say about the issue, now that efforts to be rid of the controversy appear to have fallen apart thanks to Casey.
The Tennessean was good enough to pass along a message to football fans from Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker, particularly those fans angered that the team stayed in the locker room Sunday during the national anthem: No one told you to come.
And he’s re-igniting the controversy while not even on American soil.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) July 17, 2018