Titans star plans to ignore NFL's national anthem rule, will keep protest going

Although it's unclear how many players will be protesting during the national anthem next season, there's definitely going to be at least one: Jurrell Casey

The Titans defensive tackle revealed on Wednesday that he plans to keep his protest going in 2018, despite the NFL's new rule that calls for players not to protest during the anthem if they're out on the field. Not even the threat of a possible fine is going to deter the Titans' star. 

"I'm going to take a fine this year, why not?" Casey told CNN during an NFL promotional event in London. "I'm going to protest during the flag. That's what I'm going to say now. I'm going to take my fine. It is what it is, I ain't going to let them stop me from doing what I want to do. If they want to have these battles between players and organizations, this is the way it's going to be."

Over the past two seasons, Casey has raised his fist during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. If he does that this season, the NFL would likely view it as a violation of the rule that calls for players to "show respect for the flag and the Anthem." 

The new anthem rule will take effect for the 2018 season after being approved at the NFL Spring Meeting in May. The new rule will allow players to stay in the locker room during the national anthem. However, if they're on the field, they will be expected to show their respect. One thing that's not clear is if Casey would actually get fined for continuing his protest.

Under the new rule, the NFL will have the power to fine any team that allows its players or personnel to protest during the national anthem. The rule also says that each club can "develop its own work rules" regarding players who decide to protest, which means it will be up to the Titans to decide whether or not to fine Casey.  

Most players have been relatively quiet about the new anthem policy, but that's only because they're unhappy, according to Casey. 

"Around the NFL, guys are definitely not happy about it," Casey said. "I feel it's not right, I don't think it was a good decision for the NFL to come up with that ruling. But they have their reasons for what they've done."

The three-time Pro Bowler, who signed a four-year, $60.4 million extension with the Titans in July 2017, said he isn't worried about any possible repercussions from his protesting. 

"There is always going to be blowback, that is what America is about," Casey said. "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."

Casey was in London on Wednesday to help promote the NFL's 2018 International Series. The Titans are scheduled to play the Chargers in Week 7 at Wembley Stadium. 

One other topic Casey touched on during his interview with CNN was the status of Colin Kaepernick. Casey believes that the quarterback, who filed a grievance against the NFL after missing the 2017 season, should absolutely have a job. 

"I think he definitely deserves it," Casey said. "For all these trash quarterbacks you see that get a shot, that come in and sit on the bench all day, you got a starting quarterback that's out there that can go out there and play. You know he has the skill set to be a starting quarterback, and you hold him out just because he is speaking his mind. At the end of the day it speaks (volumes) on what these people really think about you."

Kaepernick may not be on the field in 2018, but his message will continue to be heard as long as players like Casey continue to protest racial inequality and police brutality. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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