Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews has stated that if a new rule requiring professional football players to stand during the national anthem is instituted, he will quit the NFL. Matthews made the announcement in a tweet, though quickly deleted the message. However, a screenshot was captured before the post was removed.
According to WSMV News 4, Matthews of the Tennessee Titans tweeted, “No I will be done playing football” in response to a question about what he would do if the NFL started requiring players to stand for the national anthem. Matthews tweet was quickly removed, but not before it was captured by Matt Parker of WSMV.
The statement came after reports that Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, may make standing for the national anthem mandatory based on a tweet from President Donald Trump that said, “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY.”
As reported by Fox Business on Wednesday, Goodell refuted that he intended to issue such a requirement. A statement released by the NFL said, “Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the Anthem is not accurate. As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.”
Goodell stated that the league believes “everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” but hasn’t gone as far as to issue a mandate. He added that the NFL is considering creating an “in-season platform” that would give players a method for promoting their efforts regarding social justice.
In a memo, Goodell said that the owners would discuss options to “promote the work of our players on these core issues, and that will help promote positive change in our country.”
While there is a current rule that requires NFL players to be on the sidelines when the national anthem plays before the start of a primetime game, that mandate wasn’t in effect prior to 2009.