Titans Pro Bowl DT Casey vows to continue protesting during anthem

July 20, 2018 GMT

Tennessee Titans Pro Bowl DT Jurrell Casey became the first known NFL player to publicly state that he still plans to protest during the national anthem this season despite the league’s new policy stating protesting players must remain in the locker room or be subject to fine and possible penalty, he told CNN on Wednesday.

“I’m going to take my fine,” Casey said. “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 NFL, amid pressure from President Donald Trump, adopted its new anthem policy in May, which immediately came under fire not only from its players but a still-displeased Trump. It states that players and all team personnel “must stand and show respect for the flag and anthem” when on the field before the game.

The policy was introduced at a time when the anthem controversy that began in 2016 when then-49ers QB Colin Kaepernick first knelt to protest policy brutality and social inequality was seemingly quieting. But just as the policy unintentionally opened up a firestorm of debate on both sides, when all the NFL wanted was for it to go away, Casey predicts that more players will protest openly.

“It’s not necessarily about the anthem, that’s where everybody’s messing up, Casey said. “… The way that the justice system treats minorities is the issue that we have.”

According to ESPN, new Titans coach Mike Vrabel, with whom Casey has yet to inform of his plans, said that the organization will support whatever decision its players make regarding the new policy. Jets CEO Christopher Johnson indicated he’d pay his players fines, while 49ers owner Jed York abstained from voting on the new policy — early signs that it would be met by resistance.

Casey, 28, originally a third-round pick in 2011, signed a four-year, $60.4 million extension with $40 million guaranteed last offseason and has gone to three consecutive Pro Bowls.

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