One day after Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said at an NFL event in England that he will still protest during the playing of the national anthem this season and accept any fines or penalties, team brass wants a word.
‘We think there may be some misunderstanding’
Via USA Today, Tennessee team president and CEO Steve Underwood, speaking during a board meeting for the local sports authority, believes Casey may not understand the league’s new rules around protesting.
“In the case of Jurrell Casey, I think our head coach [Mike Vrabel] and general manager [Jon Robinson] are interested in having a conversation after he gets back from the United Kingdom,” Underwood said. “We think there may be some misunderstanding on his part. Because the new league policy does not provide anywhere that fines are made against players. If a player doesn’t stand, the teams can be fined, but not the players.
“There are two things that can happen that are considered to be legitimate under the policy: stay in the locker room or you can stand respectfully during the anthem. And it doesn’t apply just to the players; it applies to every employee of ours. So, we’re not exactly sure why he suggested that he would, as he put, ‘take his fine’ because there will be no fines levied against him.”
Casey has raised fist
Since Colin Kaepernick first began sitting then kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest a spate of unarmed black men killed by police, a protesting practice that spread to other players and other teams and has also included raised fists, there has been a great deal of shouting and name-calling around the act, as well as a great deal of work done by some players in the fields of racial injustice, sentencing and bail inequalities, and other issues.
Casey, a three-time Pro Bowler who signed a four-year extension last season, has raised a fist as the anthem concluded.
Underwood said the team is not disappointed in Casey after his comments; he is the first player to explicitly say he’ll continue to protest on-field despite the NFL’s new guideline, which instructs players to remain in the locker room rather than protest during the anthem.
“No. He made those comments overseas. We haven’t had the opportunity to talk to him about what he said. But no, we’re not disappointed,” Underwood said. “He’s one of our starting players.”
The Titans are playing the Los Angeles Chargers in London this season; Casey is overseas promoting the team and the game.
Tennessee’s first game in the regular season is against the Miami Dolphins, a team that reportedly will fine and/or suspend any players who protest during the national anthem.
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