Rishad Matthews has remained in the locker room during the national anthem before each of the Titans' last three games
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews threatened to quit the NFL if the league prevents him from protesting peacefully during the national anthem.
According to since-deleted tweets, Matthews was asked if he would stand or remain in the locker room if the NFL made rules preventing players from protesting.
'No I will be done playing football,' Matthews wrote in a tweet, which was captured by NFL blogger Paul Kuharsky.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell previously announced that league owners will meet next week to address player protests, which is something President Donald Trump has implored the league to do for over a month.
Matthews had not been among the NFL players who have protested police violence against minorities by sitting or kneeling during the anthem. However, that changed after Trump referred to protesting players as 'sons of b******' during a speech in Alabama back in September.
Since then, Matthews has remained in the locker room during the national anthem.
Matthews has since deleted the tweet in which he threatens to quit football
And although he technically has not been kneeling, Matthews told ESPN: 'I plan to kneel until the president apologizes for the comments that he made, because I felt like those were very disrespectful comments.'
Trump has accused the protesting players of disrespecting U.S. military veterans. However, Matthews' father reportedly served in the Marines for 23 years, and his brother was actually killed in Afghanistan while working as a private defense contractor in 2015 after previously serving in Iraq.
Matthews recently posted a picture of himself saluting on Instagram with a picture of his deceased brother superimposed over his likeness.
'I Will Forever Salute You,' Matthews wrote in the caption.
A former college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, the free agent quarterback who first began protesting injustice by kneeling during the anthem last season, Matthews has also donated $75,000 to less fortunate communities.
Matthews regularly refers to his deceased brother, who served as a Marine in Iraq before ultimately working as a defensive contractor in Afghanistan in 2015, when he was killed
Matthews' Tennessee Titans teammates Logan Ryan (26), Wesley Woodyard (59) and Jurrell Casey (99) raise their fists after the playing of the national anthem before a preseason game
'It's very unfortunate that fans choose not to watch because players are exercising their rights!' Matthews tweeted on October 5. 'Just shows you we still have a long way to go in this country, but I believe in this country and we'll eventually get it corrected. Don't worry I don't hate you for your views as you me. Love thy neighbor as much as you love yourself!'
NFL players have been protesting police brutality against minorities by sitting, kneeling or raising a first during the national anthem since last season. On Tuesday, facing intense criticism from fans and Trump, Goodell penned a memo to all 32 teams, sharing his belief 'that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.'
Goodell went on to write that the league needs to 'move past' the controversy surrounding player protests, adding that the issue will be addressed when the owners meet in New York next week.
President Donald Trump praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday morning for memo encouraging players to 'honor our flag and our country' during the national anthem
On Twitter, Trump celebrated what he believed to be Goodell changing the NFL policy regarding anthem protests, but a league statement said an official decision has yet to be made
On Wednesday, Trump claimed victory by praising Goodell for encouraging players to 'honor our flag and our country' during the national anthem.
'It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,' Trump tweeted.
The league has since issued a statement emphasizing that the issue is still being discussed and that standing during the anthem is still not mandatory.
'Commentary this morning about the Commissioner's position on the Anthem is not accurate,' read the league's statement. 'As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week.
'The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together,' the statement continued. 'Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.'
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (left) started the protests in 2016 to raise awareness about police brutality against minorities