Tennessee Titans defender Jurrell Casey told reporters in England on Wednesday, that he will continue protesting during the national anthem even if he’s fined.
On Thursday, Titans CEO Steve Underwood said team officials would like to talk to Casey.
“In the case of Jurrell Casey, I think our head coach (Mike Vrabel) and general manager (Jon Robinson) are interested in having a conversation after he gets back from the United Kingdom,” Underwood said during a Thursday meeting with the Nashville Sports Authority, according to the Nashville Tennessean.
A member of the Sports Authority wanted Underwood to explain Casey’s statement about being willing to pay fines, on CNN. Casey said, “I’m going to take the fine (for protesting during the anthem). 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.”
Underwood believes, perhaps, that Casey doesn’t understand the NFL’s new anthem policy, which fines teams, not players, if a player protests during the Star-Spangled Banner.
“We think there may be some misunderstanding on his part,” Underwood said according to the Tennessean. “Because the new league new policy does not provide anywhere that fines are made against players. If a player doesn’t stand, the teams can be fined, but not the players.
“There are two things that can happen that are considered to be legitimate under the policy: stay in the locker room or you can stand respectfully during the anthem. And it doesn’t apply just to the players; it applies to every employee of ours.
“So, we’re not exactly sure why he suggested that he would, as he put, ‘take his fine’ because there will be no fines levied against him.”
According to the Tennessean, Underwood made it clear to the Nashville Sports Authority that no Titans players took a knee during the anthem the last two seasons (Casey raised a fist).
Underwood also said he’s not disappointed in Casey’s comment.
“No, he made those comments overseas,” Underwood said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to talk to him about what he said. But no, we’re not disappointed. He’s one of our starting players.”
Casey, who is one of the Titans’ best players, signed a four-year, $60 million contract extension last year.
The last two seasons, some NFL players have protested during the national anthem due to what they perceive as racial inequality and police brutality in the United States.
The NFL, which took a TV ratings and attendance dip in some cities due to the anthem protests, recently put in a new rule forcing players to stand on the sideline during the anthem, or stay in the locker room. Casey said that some players are “not happy about [the new rule].”
“Around the NFL, guys are definitely not happy about it,” Casey 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.”
A big reason is clearly related to business. Some teams, like the Indianapolis Colts, have their ticket sales dip due to the protests, which have turned off some fans.
But Casey feels the issues he’s protesting must continue to be highlighted.
“I’m going to do what I do that’s going to bring light to my community,” Casey said. “At the end of the day, we got to do a job, but I will continue to use my platform to keep on speaking up.”