Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey of the Tennessee Titans doesn't plan to bend to the NFL's new national anthem policy. He intends to protest social injustice and police brutality during the 2018 season.
"I'm going to take a fine this year, why not?" Casey told CNN in London during an event promoting the Titans-Chargers game that will be played Oct. 21 at Wembley Stadium. "I'm going to protest during the flag. That's what I'm going to say now."
The new anthem policy, passed by owners in May, says players "must stand and show respect for the flag and anthem" or remain in the locker room.
The policy puts teams in danger of being fined if a player does not "show respect" for the anthem, which includes an attempt to kneel or sit during the anthem. Those teams can fine players for their actions.
Casey and teammate Wesley Woodyard raised a fist after the national anthem throughout the 2017 season. Casey said he plans to continue that method of protest. It's unclear whether that action will be subject to a fine.
The Titans, as a team, remained in the locker room during the anthem before their Week 3 home game against the Seattle Seahawks following President Donald Trump's "get that son of a bitch off the field" comment about the players who chose to protest.
"There is always going to be blowback, that is what America is about," Casey told CNN. "They always like to go on social media and go hard. It is what it is, at the end of the day, I don't pay no mind to it. I'm going to do what I do that's going to bring light to my community."
"At the end of the day, we got to do a job, but I will continue to use my platform to keep on speaking up."
Earlier this month, the NFL Players Association filed a non-injury grievance challenging the NFL's anthem policy. The NFLPA, which wasn't consulted before the owners voted on this rule change in May, claims that the policy is "inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights." The NFLPA also claims that kneeling during the anthem doesn't constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL.
Trump weighed in on the NFL player protests frequently throughout the 2017 season and this offseason, even after the new policy was passed.
"We're going to keep standing up for what's right on our side. And if they can't see the injustice, then that's where the divide is going to be," Casey told ESPN in August.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said in May that players have the organization and controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk's support to make their own decision based on the new policy.
Casey said he had not spoken to Vrabel or his teammates about his protest plans yet.
Casey predicted that the new policy will lead to more protests from players across the NFL. Several large groups of players decided to kneel and lock arms during the anthem last season. "I ain't going to let them stop me from doing what I want to do," Casey said. "If they want to have these battles between players and organizations, this is the way it's going to be."
"It's not necessarily about the anthem, that's where everybody's messing up," Casey added. "... The way that the justice system treats minorities is the issue that we have."
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the trend of sitting, and then kneeling, during the anthem in protest of social injustice, police brutality and many other issues negatively affecting many minorities in America. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he began his protest.