In a disturbing new chapter of the ongoing saga around the NFL’s national anthem protests, multiple participants have said they are now getting death threats
Country singer Meghan Linsey chose to kneel during her rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” before last Sunday’s NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks.
In an editorial for the Washington Post on Friday, Linsey claimed she’s received threats on her life, and letters from people wishing her cancer. But she said that wasn’t upsetting her the most.
“What bothers me more is the silence,” Linsey wrote. “The silence of millions of white people every day, when they watch a video of a black woman’s son who is murdered simply for reaching for his driver’s license. We have to do better.”
“We have to speak,” she added, “and we have to be allies.”
Linsey, however, is not the only person whose Sunday protest has drawn death threats from those animated by President Trump’s insistence that football players who kneel for the anthem are “sons of bitches” who dishonor America and should be “fired.”
In an lengthy statement posted to Instagram, Tennessee Titan tight end Delanie Walker confirmed that both he and his family have received death threats.
“The death threats that my family and I have received since my comments are heartbreaking,” Walker wrote. “The racist and violent words directed at me and my son only serve as another reminder that our country remains divided and full of hateful rhetoric.”
Unlike Linsey, whose act of protest was carried out in full view of the fans watching Sunday’s game, Walker and many of his teammates simply chose not to take the field for the national anthem, opting instead to remain in their locker room until the song was over. Nevertheless, on Wednesday Walker doubled-down on his decision not to participate in the national anthem, telling fans angry at his team’s no-show: “Fans that don’t want to come to the game? OK, bye.”
According to ESPN, threats against players lives have also started appearing on the Tennessee Titan’s general social media accounts.
For Linsey, however, the decision to kneel during the anthem was an easy one.
“I know it’s hard and scary, but at the same time there’s a real problem in this country with social injustice and racism,” she told the Tennessean. “I think it’s going to take an army of people that are white and privileged to step up and say, ‘No, this is a real thing’ in order for change to happen.”