Former The Voice contestant Meghan Linsey took a knee after performing the national anthem ahead of a game between the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The country singer knelt alongside her guitarist after singing the final verse, showing solidarity with NFL players who were protesting the anthem.
“I was absolutely terrified walking out there,” country singer Meghan Linsey admitted to Yahoo.
“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.”
A record number of players took a knee, stood arm-in-arm, or stayed in the locker room on Sunday after President Donald Trump called for NFL owners to fire any player who took a knee this season during a rally in Alabama on Friday.
As part of the protest, the entire Titans and Seahawks teams decided to stay inside their respective locker rooms during the anthem.
Linsey had expected to have more company on the field during her action, but she got word right before she went out that the teams had chosen to stay in the wings during the anthem. “That made it a little more scarier, I guess, that nobody was out there doing it with me,” she tells Yahoo.
“And I hadn’t planned for this. But it was obviously just meant to be that I was there in this moment, and given this opportunity.”
She said her decision came earlier that morning. “I love America. I’m not unpatriotic. I appreciate our men and women in uniform. That’s not the issue.”
She went on to say, “I couldn’t have gone out there and not done anything and felt good about it, because I have always built this platform on empowerment and loving people — whatever color, whatever sexual orientation. And it was like: Of all the days that I would sing the anthem! It put me in a weird spot. 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.”