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Delanie Walker receiving death threats for decision to stay in locker room during National Anthem

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Yea, there might be a problem worth protesting.

Oakland Raiders v Tennessee Titans

Last weekend, former San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker elected to remain in the locker room during the National Anthem prior to the Tennessee Titans matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks entire team remained in the locker room, citing the social justice issues involved for their refusal to appear for the Anthem.

There have been vocal criticisms of player protests, and unfortunately, the vitriol against players has risen to disgusting levels. Walker posted on Instagram on Thursday that he and his family have received death threats since the protest. I’ve posted his Instagram post below, but here is the caption if you can’t see it:

The Tennessee Titans fans are the best in the NFL. What we do on the field every Sunday would mean nothing without knowing we are supported by the city of Nashville and the fans that have been by our side over the years.

One of the many things I gained from spending time in the Middle East on the NFL’s USO Tour this spring, is an appreciation for America’s core values and an even greater appreciation for the men and women that defend those values. In being asked about our team’s decision on Sunday to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem, I used strong words to defend our right to make our own choices. Both my choice to spark dialogue for positive change and the fans’ choice to attend our games. It’s that freedom of choice that makes our democracy the envy of many around the world.

The death threats that my family and I have received since my comments are heartbreaking. 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. These words of hate will only fuel me in my efforts to continue my work reaching out to different community groups, listening to opposing voices, and honoring the men and women in the Armed Forces who risk their lives every day so that we may have this dialogue. I am proud to represent the many faces of Titans fans and believe that only through a more respectful discourse can we achieves the goals of unity, peace and racial equality that I know we all strive for.

Titan Up

The death threats are disgusting, but not surprising. Colin Kaepernick received death threats during his protest, and I would bet good money that other players have received death threats.

The threats usually come from cowards who have no real intention of following up on it, but that does not take away from the fact that there are people who think it is entirely reasonable to threaten a person because they exercised their First Amendment rights.

I think most people here at NN recognize the insanity of threatening someone’s life because you disagree with their choice of protest. If you don’t recognize that, you should probably seek help. There is no defense for threatening someone’s life over a decision to take a knee or stay in the locker room during the National Anthem. There is no, “Well, maybe ...” No, just no. If you think there is even the smallest reason to defend someone threatening someone else’s life over this, you are a major part of the reason these protests have to happen.

I think this is obvious to a lot of people, but clearly that is not the case for everybody. People say the protests divide the country, but I would argue they actually just bring to light the divisions that have long existed. People threatening death on a black athlete for choosing to call out systemic racism are not just triggered by the protest. They clearly have deeply held beliefs that are problematic (at best). The existence of this kind of behavior stands as one more defense to why these protests are necessary, and why this uncomfortable discussion has to happen.

The Tennessee Titans fans are the best in the NFL. What we do on the field every Sunday would mean nothing without knowing we are supported by the city of Nashville and the fans that have been by our side over the years. One of the many things I gained from spending time in the Middle East on the NFL’s USO Tour this spring, is an appreciation for America’s core values and an even greater appreciation for the men and women that defend those values. In being asked about our team’s decision on Sunday to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem, I used strong words to defend our right to make our own choices. Both my choice to spark dialogue for positive change and the fans’ choice to attend our games. It’s that freedom of choice that makes our democracy the envy of many around the world. The death threats that my family and I have received since my comments are heartbreaking. 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. These words of hate will only fuel me in my efforts to continue my work reaching out to different community groups, listening to opposing voices, and honoring the men and women in the Armed Forces who risk their lives every day so that we may have this dialogue. I am proud to represent the many faces of Titans fans and believe that only through a more respectful discourse can we achieves the goals of unity, peace and racial equality that I know we all strive for. Titan Up

A post shared by delanie walker (@delaniewalker82) on