NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews says he made a bad decision on Twitter to threaten to quit football if the NFL institutes a new rule mandating players stand for the national anthem.
Asked Friday if he stands by that initial statement, Matthews said “not right now.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that,” Matthews said. “I know the owners got a meeting next (week). Let’s just hope we don’t get to that.”
Matthews quickly deleted the tweet Thursday before practice, but his comments had been caught by a screen grab . Matthews said he was scrolling through Twitter during some free time when he responded to a question from a Nashville TV reporter. Then he hit delete.
“Sometimes people, as you all know, tweet some ignorant things out at some moments, and that was an ignorant thing I tweeted out at that given moment,” Matthews said. “And I take full responsibility, and that’s why it went down right after. Somebody caught me with a screen shot.”
One of the Titans’ starting receivers, Matthews has stayed in the locker room during the national anthem through the last two games in protest of President Donald Trump’s comments on NFL players. Matthews was not available Thursday after practice before the locker room closed to reporters.
Matthews is in the second of a three-year deal with Tennessee. He has started 13 of his 21 games since joining the Titans as a free agent last season, and he has 20 catches for 284 yards and a touchdown this season.
His father is a retired master sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his half brother also served in the Marines before being killed in Afghanistan in October 2015 as a private defense contractor. The receiver wears a bracelet with his brother’s name and the Marine logo.
Matthews said he had not talked with coach Mike Mularkey or Titans general manager Jon Robinson about his tweet.
Matthews said it’s unfortunate he brought this distraction to the Titans (2-3) who host Indianapolis (2-3) on Monday night. He said he takes full responsibility for what happened with his social media flurry.
“In my eyes, it just gives everybody an eye-opener of what African-Americans, minorities have to go through by just making decisions that we feel are right,” Matthews said of the reactions he gets on social media.
Notes: Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota practiced Friday but was limited again. LT Taylor Lewan (left knee) practiced fully. The Titans will update the status of injured players Saturday afternoon for Monday night’s game.
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