Meghan Linsey was one of two NFL National Anthem singers who decided to kneel after their performance on Sunday (Sept. 24). The decision to kneel was a terrifying one, but one she believed she had to make.
“I have always built this platform on empowerment and loving people — whatever color, whatever sexual orientation,” she told Yahoo after she performed that the Tennessee Titans game in Nashville. “You’re making a choice when you walk out there, however you handle it. If you don’t take a knee, it’s like: what do you stand for? For me, anything else wasn’t an option.”
The singer, who was joined by her boyfriend and guitarist Tyler Cain in kneeling, went on to explain that her decision to kneel was not an unpatriotic one, but one in defense of those who are being treated unjustly.
“I love America. I’m not unpatriotic,” she added. “I appreciate our men and women in uniform. That’s not the issue. I think the issue is the things that are happening around us with racism, and Trump will come out and openly condemn NFL players for peacefully protesting, but then these white national terrorists bring their tiki torches and cause this violence, and then he has nothing to say. It was important to me to stand with [African-Americans]. I couldn’t have gone out there and not done anything and felt good about it.”
Linsey joined dozens of NFL players in protest after President Trump went on a tweeting spree, denouncing players who aren’t standing at attention for “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be fired. Like Linsey, many took a knee on the field, while several teams, including the Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers, remained in the locker room.
Linsey initially rose to fame as one half of the duo Steel Magnolia, who won season two of CMT’s singing competition show Can You Duet. In 2014, Linsey and her duo partner, Joshua Scott Jones, who was also her fiancé, decided to part ways and embark on separate solo careers. Linsey went on to appear on season eight of The Voice in 2015, and finished the season in second place.