NFL star Delanie Walker reveals he has received death threats and racist abuse since anthem protest

Walker and the Titans remained in the locker room during the anthem on Sunday, and the tight end has defended his right to protest

Ed Malyon
Friday 29 September 2017 14:49
Comments
Delanie Walker in action for the Tennessee Titans
Delanie Walker in action for the Tennessee Titans

To call last weekend in the NFL a momentous one would be somewhat underplaying it. A week when the football was extraordinary but still comprehensively overshadowed by what went on before a whistle had even been blown.

With the president at war with the league, calling its players “sons of bitches” for protesting the national anthem and demanding they be sacked, there was significant pushback.

Delanie Walker didn’t protest alone, he and the rest of his teammates with the Tennessee Titans all decided to stay in the locker room for the anthem, only emerging – along with their opponents, the Seattle Seahawks – once the pre-game pomp and controversy was over.

But Walker had never imagined the reaction that would garner, and he wants those racially abusing and threatening him and his family to know that they are only strengthening his will to fight for justice.

The Tennessee Titans didn't appear for the national anthem on Sunday

“The death threats that my family and I have received since my comments are heartbreaking.

"The racist and violent words directed at me and my son only serve as another reminder that our country remains divided and full of hateful rhetoric.

“These words of hate will only fuel me in my efforts to continue my work reaching out to different community groups, listening to opposing voices, and honoring [sic] the men and women in the Armed Forces who risk their lives every day so that we may have this dialogue.

“I am proud to represent the many faces of Titans fans and believe that only through a more respectful discourse can we achieves the goals of unity, peace and racial equality that I know we all strive for.”

Delanie Walker has received death threats and racial abuse

Walker’s comments to a newspaper that this protest was nothing to do with the armed forces had riled Tennesse fans. But the tight end, who visited American military bases earlier this year, was once again keen to clarify that his protest had nothing to do with the army.

“One of the many things I gained from spending time in the Middle East on the NFL’s USO Tour this spring, is an appreciation for America’s core values and an even greater appreciation for the men and women that defend those values.

In being asked about our team’s decision on Sunday to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem, I used strong words to defend our right to make our own choices. Both my choice to spark dialogue for positive change and the fans’ choice to attend our games. It’s that freedom of choice that makes our democracy the envy of many around the world.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in