Meghan Linsey: Not Kneeling After National Anthem ‘Wasn’t an Option’
Meghan Linsey says she made her decision to kneel after singing the National Anthem on Sunday morning, and she was terrified as she took the field prior to the Tennessee Titans game in Nashville later that day (Sept. 24).
Not having either team on the sideline made her feel even more alone, but in an interview with Yahoo she says she couldn’t go out there and do nothing, "because I have always built this platform on empowerment and loving people — whatever color, whatever sexual orientation."
"You’re making a choice when you walk out there, however you handle it," she adds. "If you don’t take a knee, it’s like: what do you stand for? For me, anything else wasn’t an option."
Country's Not Afraid of Controversy and We Have the Songs to Prove It!
Linsey was one of two National Anthem singers to join dozens of NFL players in protest after President Trump’s remarks on Friday (Sept. 22). Trump said he feels that anyone who disrespects the flag by not standing at attention during the anthem deserved to be fired.
Several NFL owners, including the Titans’ ownership, issued statements of support for the players and coaches. Across the league many stood while some knelt and bowed a head, others locked arms with coaches and executives, and others — like the Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers teams — remained in the locker room.
"I was absolutely terrified walking out there," Linsey remarked after making her move. She recognizes that she made a namerfor herself in country music as part of the now defunct duo Steel Magnolia. But in recent years her music has taken a pop slant, especially after she finished runner-up to Sawyer Fredericks during the Season 8 of The Voice.
Guitarist and boyfriend Tyler Cain was by her side and both took a knee at the end of the performance, but the seed was planted days earlier. Linsey says she saw the President’s comments and knew she needed to do something to show support for her African-American friends, at the very least.
"I love America. I’m not unpatriotic," she admits. "I appreciate our men and women in uniform. That’s not the issue. I think the issue is the things that are happening around us with racism, and Trump will come out and openly condemn NFL players for peacefully protesting, but then these white national terrorists bring their tiki torches and cause this violence, and then he has nothing to say. It was important to me to stand with [African-Americans]."
"I couldn’t have gone out there and not done anything and felt good about it."
R&B signer Rico LaVelle also took a knee at the end of the National Anthem in Detroit.
Both the Titans & Seahawks remained in their locker rooms during the national anthem while the singer took a knee during her performance. pic.twitter.com/zeBQhYbKPN
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 24, 2017