At the beginning of the weekend, singing the national anthem at the Tennessee Titans game simply looked like a good way for former “The Voice” favorite Meghan Linsey to get herself in front of a large crowd of people during a NFL game.
Yet, by Sept. 23, it was evident to the singer that her performance was going to become much more.
“Until yesterday, I didn’t even think about it that much,” Meghan said in an interview with Yahoo! hours after taking a knee at the conclusion of her Sept. 24 anthem performance in Nashville. “Then I was thinking about the things that [the president] said yesterday, and I thought, ‘Man, it really does need to be addressed, and I think I’m in a position to take a stand and hopefully make a difference.’ I have a lot of African-American friends, and they can’t stand alone. I love America. I’m not unpatriotic. 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].”
Yet, perhaps even Megan didn’t know the extent of the uproar that her actions would cause as she sent out an Instagram pic just before taking the field referencing “the calm before the storm.”
“I was absolutely terrified walking out there,” explained Meghan, who first rose to prominence as one half of the duo Steel Magnolia. “I knew what I was getting ready to do, and I understood what it meant. Obviously, I made a name for myself in country music, and I knew what the backlash would be. So I walked out there scared. But I have to go into my gut and my heart, and I knew that was the right thing to do today.”
On Sept. 25, as the reactions continue to swirl in country music circles, Meghan released a statement to further explain her decision to take a knee.
In it, she said she knelt “in solidarity with the [NFL] players, and for those who experience racism and police brutality on a daily basis” as well as for “my fans and friends who have a heightened level of anxiety and fear because of the hateful, polarizing rhetoric from the president perpetuating a dangerous climate.
“I can never be anything but me, the way God made me, and what I do is not just my art, it’s my calling,” Meghan’s statement continued. “I will never normalize hate, whether that angers people or not. I knew there would be some backlash from people who don’t understand, but there has also been such an overwhelming amount of support from those who applauded and knelt with me, and I’m so grateful for that.”