Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey intends to protest by kneeling during the national anthem this coming season, he told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.
Casey told CNN at a promotional event in London that he is willing to take the fines that come with kneeling during the anthem as a result of a new rule.
“I’m going to take my fine this year, why not?” Casey said. “I’m going to take a fine this year, why not? I’m going to protest during the flag. That’s what I’m going to say now.”
“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.”
A new league rule requires players to stay in the locker room during the anthem or stand. If they chose to kneel during the anthem, then they would be fined by the league.
In the past, no player on the Tennessee Titans knelt during the anthem, but many have raised their fists during the anthem, including Casey. One player, Rishard Matthews, chose to stay in the locker room during many games because he wanted to protest the anthem without kneeling.
“Around the NFL, guys are definitely not happy about it,” he said of the new NFL rule. “I feel it’s not right, I don’t think it was a good decision for the NFL to come up with that ruling. But they have their reasons for what they’ve done.”
Casey was also asked about Colin Kaepernick and his standing with the NFL. He responded by saying “I think he definitely deserves it. 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.”
Casey said he was completely unconcerned about the blowback from the fans. He said, “There is always going to be blowback, that is what America is about. They always like to go on social media and go hard. It is what it is, at the end of the day, I don’t pay no mind to it. I’m going to do what I do that’s going to bring light to my community.”
Casey was with a few other players in London, but they were very disinterested on the topic, and wanted to keep their focus on football. Philadelphia Eagles player Mack Hollins said “I’ll do whatever the team does. I’m not really into that,” he said. “I play ball really, that’s all I care about.”
Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo spoke positively about the anthem, saying, “I take great pride in our national anthem. My grandfather served for the States in World War II, I represented my country for our (Under-17 soccer) national team, so that’s important to me.
“I can’t speak on other guys, but I will certainly be standing and singing regardless.”
Casey is in his eighth year with the Titans, and just recently signed a contract extension for four years and $60.4 million. He has made three straight Pro Bowls for the Titans.