Tennessee Titans defensive lineman DaQuan Jones is contemplating continuing his anthem protest this season, however, he’s worried that teams and sponsors may single him out. in the same way that, he believes, former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick has been singled out.
“It’s going to affect your job, your endorsements and your money,” Jones told ESPN on Thursday. “Someone like me, going into my fourth year, I’m trying to get paid too. A lot of teams will look down at that and say, ‘He’s a Colin Kaepernick.'”
Jones took up Kaepernick’s protest a few weeks into the 2016 season and joined team mates Jurrell Casey and Wesley Woodyard to raise a militant fist during the playing of our nation’s anthem.
For his part, Casey said that despite a year of protests and all the talk and turmoil they caused, nothing really changed.
“Did protesting really change much last year? I don’t really think so,” Casey said. “We gotta find a better way. Protesting on a Sunday doesn’t do itself justice because we did that last year and there was only more uproar, without much change.”
Titans receiver Rishard Matthews added that the way Kaepernick was treated and the fact that he was not signed to a team this season was enough reason to reconsider the protests.
“I know there are guys who want to take a knee or stand up as well, but a lot of people come to this league from nothing. Job security is everything,” Matthews said. “It’s not a secret that guys who protest on teams might be gone.”
Thus far none of the Titans players who protested last year have formally announced what they intend to do this year, a sign that they feel uneasy about re-starting the protests.
Whatever the men in the Titans locker room decide to do, if they did re-ignite their protests, they’d be joining at least two other NFL players who have already carried them out in the NFL pre-season.
Two players, the Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett and the Raider’s Marshawn Lynch, stayed seated during the playing of the national anthem at last weekend’s games and appear ready to continue their stance all year.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.