Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey regularly demonstrated during the national anthem before games last season, and even though NFL owners have crafted an absurd policy designed to ensure that everyone “shows respect for the flag and the Anthem” (which was never the issue), the Pro Bowler says he plans to continue protesting, in his words, “the way that the justice system treats minorities.”
Casey, who’s in London to promote his team’s game against the Chargers this season, spoke with CNN about how a potential fine is no meaningful deterrent. “I’m going to take a fine this year, why not?” Casey said. “I’m going to protest during the flag. That’s what I’m going to say now.” Under the NFL’s flag-respect regulations, players can stay in the locker room during anthems, but teams will be fined if players show insufficient respect for the flag on the field. Teams can then decide whether or not to pass those fines on to players.
“I’m going to take my fine,” Casey added. “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.”
“Around the NFL, guys are definitely not happy about it,” he said. “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 reiterated that protesting racial injustice during the national anthem has nothing to do with the military or the flag, a point that players have been very clear about for years, and a point that has been actively ignored in the bad-faith debate around “respecting the flag.”