NFL player: “I will be done playing football” if made to stand during national anthem

An NFL player tweeted he would quit playing football if the NFL passes a new rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem.

WSMV in Nashville reported Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews told a news producer on Twitter he “will be done playing football” if a new rule is passed.

Matthews deleted the tweet shortly after, but a screenshot had already been saved by the news producer.

The Titans stayed in the locker room during the national anthem in a September game against the Seattle Seahawks. President Donald Trump had tweeted the day before that players need to stand or be fired.

After the game, the Titans released a statement about their decision to not appear on the field:

“As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpatriotic.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter published this week that players should stand during the anthem, although the anthem it is not mentioned in the NFL rulebook.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” Goodell wrote. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”

Goodell also wrote the anthem debate will be a large topic of discussion at league meetings next week in New York.

USA Today reported Goodell had criticized statements Trump made on the NFL during a September campaign rally in Alabama, calling them “divisive” and showing a “lack of respect.”

Lauren Gorla: 706-571-8647, @gorla94