Meghan Linsey: ‘I Have Received Death Threats and Had Cancer Wished Upon Me’ After NFL National Anthem Protest
In a newly published Washington Post column, Meghan Linsey writes about her decision to kneel down on one knee in solidarity with protesting NFL players after performing the National Anthem at Sunday's (Sept. 24) Tennessee Titans vs. Seattle Seahawks game -- and about the backlash she has received for doing so. Her decision has made her the subject of headlines and both praise and vitriol from fans, including death threats.
In her column, Linsey says that, as she walked off the field after performing, she received "mixed reactions": a lot of boos, but also some thanks. However, in the days since, the singer has "received death threats and had cancer wished upon me ... I’ve had people say that they should have executed me on the field."
"People are threatening my life because the idea that someone who looks like me would act against racism upsets them so much," Linsey adds. "I am not afraid of these people, because I know that I am living on my mother’s prayers and God will protect me. It just hurts my heart to stand in the face of real unadulterated hate."
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Linsey notes that many have called her participation in Sunday's protests -- which came in response to comments by President Donald Trump about players such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick choosing to kneel during the National Anthem in order to protest racial inequality in the United States -- "un-American." She says, though, that she finds being threatened for expressing herself un-American.
"The only way we can move forward as a nation is if we bring it all back to love. We have to live it and demonstrate it every day in our own lives — and we have to point out injustices every time we see them," Linsey notes. "I am praying for our country. I know that there has to be more love out there, and I pray that we find it and fast."
Linsey — formerly one-half of the country duo Steel Magnolia, now a solo artist — was one of two National Anthem singers to kneel following their performances on Sunday. At the Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons game, R&B / soul artist Rico Lavelle ended his performance by taking a knee as well. In an interview given shortly after her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Linsey explained in detail when and how she decided to “take a knee,” and in her piece for the Washington Post, she further shares some of the instances of racism that she observed while growing up in the New Orleans area.
"Racism is still a huge stain on the heart of this country," Linsey writes, "and it is still very much alive."
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