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Friday
Sep292017

NFL player Delanie Walker says he received death threats over national anthem comments

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL player Delanie Walker said he and his family had received death threats after he spoke out about his team's decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem Sunday.

The Tennessee Titans tight end, along with all of his teammates and their opponents, the Seattle Seahawks, remained in the locker room during the national anthem.

Walker spoke to reporters in the locker room that day about the team's decision.

“First off, I’m going to say this: We’re not disrespecting the military, the men and women that serve in the Army. That’s not what it’s all about,” Walker told a reporter from USA Today. “If you look at most of the guys in here, I’ve been in the USO. I support the troops. This is not about that. It’s about equal rights, and that’s all everyone is trying to show, is that we all care about each other."

“And the fans that don’t want to come to the game? I mean, OK. Bye. I mean, if you feel that’s something, we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the game. You don’t have to. No one’s telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom of choice to do that," Walker added.

Walker said that since he chose to "spark dialogue for positive change" with his comments, however, he and his family received anonymous death threats.

"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," Walker said in a statement Thursday provided by his rep, which he also posted on Instagram.

"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 the men and women in the armed forces who risk their lives every day so that we may have this dialogue," his statement continued.

The Tennessee Titans did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment at the time of publication but said through Walker's rep that they had informed NFL security of the threats.

Walker, 33, has spent more than 10 years in the NFL. He recently traveled to the Middle East on the NFL'a USO Tour, a non-profit initiative that helps support servicemen and women through a variety of programs. He called meeting soldiers there an "unforgettable experience."

Walker's post mentioned his time on that tour and explained that he gained "an appreciation for America’s core values and an even greater appreciation for the men and women that defend those values."

"It’s that freedom of choice that makes our democracy the envy of many around the world," he added.

In spite of the threats, Delaney said he is proud of his team, fans and city, writing that "only through a more respectful discourse can we achieve the goals of unity, peace and racial equality that I know we all strive for."

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