UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, Linsey shared a statement about her decision to kneel after finishing the national anthem, which you can read in full below.
I want to say, I love my country and I have so much respect for those who died for our right to stand, kneel, or be absent during the anthem yesterday. The heart of our country is our Constitution, and we are all walking, talking, breathing symbols of that Constitution.
Yesterday upon finishing the anthem, I kneeled in solidarity with the players and for those who experience racism and police brutality on a daily basis. I love the American Flag, but a symbol is nothing without the people it represents, so yesterday, I kneeled for those who are mistreated, beaten down and disregarded.
It was never a choice for me as to whether or not I would show support for many of my fans and friends who have a heightened level of anxiety and fear because of the hateful, polarizing rhetoric from the President perpetuating a dangerous climate.
I can never be anything but me, the way God made me, and what I do is not just my art, it’s my calling. I will never normalize hate, whether that angers people or not. I knew there would be some backlash from people who don’t understand, but there has also been such an overwhelming amount of support from those who applauded and knelt with me, and I’m so grateful for that.
I pray that change is sparked and that our great country can find unity despite our differences.
Love and Light-
Country singer Meghan Linsey and her guitar accompaniment chose to kneel after finishing her rendition of the national anthem at Sunday’s Tennessee Titans football game. And the reactions poured in immediately.
ICYMI: The Titans & Seahawks remained in their locker rooms during the national anthem while the singer took a knee during her performance. pic.twitter.com/WBo5bNv7AC
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 25, 2017
Now, the singer doubles down on the decision and explains why she took a stand by taking a knee. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Linsey says, “I knew that was the right thing to do today.”
She also says President Trump’s recent comments against NFL players taking a knee spurred the decision. “Trump will come out and openly condemn NFL players for peacefully protesting,” she says. “But then these white nationalist terrorists bring their tiki torches and cause this violence, and then he has nothing to say.”
Linsey says she knew exactly what she was doing and why she did it. “I knew what the backlash would be,” she says. “So I walked out there scared.” It didn’t help that the players chose to stay in the locker room for the anthem, their own sign of protest.
But Linsey also says people misconstrue what kneeling during the anthem represents. The issue first came up last year when quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the pre-game moment. When asked why, Kaepernick said it was his form of peacefully protesting police brutality and racial inequality in America.
But critics argue the peaceful protest is really an anti-military display. And that stance baffled Linsey.
“I have a lot of African-American friends, and they can’t stand alone,” Linsey says. “I love America. I’m not unpatriotic. I appreciate our men and women in uniform. That’s not the issue.” She also points out that she’s supported the military throughout her music career.
Meghan Linsey received vulgar comments and violent threats from some corners of the internet after the display. But she also received praise from fellow musicians and people on social media who otherwise didn’t know her before. Radio host Bobby Bones tweeted to Linsey, “Respect. Took guts. And heart. Glad you followed it. Love this country.”
Linsey says she needed to use her platform to stand with those demanding justice. “I am a white, blonde, privileged woman, so for me to make a stand too is important,” she says. “There are plenty of people that are trolls on the Internet saying I did it for attention. It’s not about that. This is just who I’ve always been and what I’ve always stood for.”
Elsewhere around the league, singer Rico LaVelle also took a knee in Detroit following his performance.