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Rishard Matthews

Rishard Matthews of the NFL's Titans said he'll quit if forced to stand for the anthem

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A National Football League (NFL) player says he would rather lose his job than be forced to stand during the national anthem.

“No, I will be done playing football,” Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews tweeted Thursday when asked about the issue, according to ESPN.

ESPN reported that WSMV producer Matt Parker asked Matthews whether he would stay in the locker room for the song if the NFL created a rule mandating they stand or face punishment.

Matthews tweeted out a response before quickly deleting it and hitting the field for the Titans’ Thursday afternoon practice.

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The player – who is the team’s leading receiver – was then absent from reporters during locker room availability Thursday.

Matthews’s father served 23 years in the Marines and his brother, another Marine, died in Afghanistan in 2015.

The professional athlete has stayed in the Titans’ locker room for the past two games while the rest of his team stood for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The entire Titans roster remained in the locker room during the tune before their NFL Week 3 game against the Seattle Seahawks last month.

The NFL and NFL Players Association on Wednesday issued a joint statement confirming there has been no change to a policy recommending, but not requiring, players stand for the anthem.

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The league will have meetings next week aimed at addressing the anthem protests and related social issues.

Scores of NFL coaches, executives and players have knelt during the national anthem since President Trump criticized the gesture last month.

Trump called on the NFL to fire its employees who perform the move, and he has since described it as disrespectful to America and its flag.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest the nation’s racial injustice.

The NFL has since struggled with addressing the topic amid fierce national debate over whether it is unpatriotic or vital free speech.

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