Titans WR Rishard Matthews says he'd retire if he had to stand for anthem

The NFL owners and players will find when they try to come to common ground in the national anthem controversy that there are members on extreme sides.

On one side, you have Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying he wouldn’t play someone who knelt for the anthem. Then on Thursday, Tennessee Titans receiver Rishard Matthews tweeted – and then deleted shortly after – that he would be “done playing football” if he was forced to stand for the anthem.


If you need a quick snapshot into how combative this issue has become, comparing Jones’ comments and Matthews’ deleted tweet is a good place to start.

Matthews has protested the anthem and does so from an interesting background. While many have wrongfully painted the issue as players against the military (no player has ever said he is protesting the military), Matthews has strong ties to the military. His father and half-brother both served in the Marines. His father served for 23 years. His half-brother, Christopher Ruiz, died in a plane crash in Afghanistan in 2015 while working as a private defense contractor. He was presented the American flag flown in Afghanistan honoring his brother before a game this year.


Matthews has said it’s possible to be pro-military while bringing attention to social issues with protest. He has said he will kneel during the anthem until President Donald Trump apologizes for comments made about NFL players who are protesting.

Deleting the tweet about walking away from the NFL might be a sign that he said something emotional in the heat of the moment and doesn’t mean it. That would make sense, since this has turned into one of the most emotionally-charged debates we’ve ever seen in sports.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews tweeted that he’d retire from football if he was forced to stand for the anthem. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!