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Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and coach Mike Mularkey explain the team’s decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem before their game against the Seahawks at Nissan Stadium.

In a joint decision Sunday, the Titans and the Seattle Seahawks stayed in the locker room during the national anthem before their game at Nissan Stadium.

“We all came together. We wanted to show unity, and we made it happen,” Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said after the team’s 33-27 win.

The protests, agreed upon by both teams hours before the 3:15 p.m. kickoff, came just days after President Donald Trump spoke at a rally Friday night in Huntsville, Ala., where he called for NFL players to be fired for protesting the national anthem.

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“It’s just very, very sad and very disrespectful – all of it,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “I mean, this is our commander-in-chief, and words like – to call us S.O.B.s and things of that nature – it’s just very sad.”

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Titans tight end Delanie Walker said that the two teams arrived at the decision to remain in their respective locker rooms by communicating via group text message.

“We had a group text message with the Seattle Seahawks,” Walker said. “We sat down and started talking about it as a team. The head coaches got involved and we came up with a solution that would be perfect for everybody, and that was staying in the locker room. … For a long time we’ve been united playing with one another – all races. That’s what we’re trying to show, that we’re united and you can’t separate us.”

Added Titans offensive tackle Jack Conklin, “It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful or anything. We were just focused on come in here and play as a team and not worry about it.”

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Sunday’s national anthem signer, Meghan Linsey, also took a knee following her performance

Several players from the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons were among those who chose not to stand for the anthem.

The Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets stood with arms locked, though some players from those teams chose to kneel.  

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Two NFL owners, Jacksonville’s Shahid Khan and Washington’s Dan Snyder, locked arms with players during the national anthem prior to their respective games.

“It’s all about unity,” Orakpo said of the Titans’ decision to remain in the locker room. “Whether you stand, kneel, whatever the case may be, it’s all about unity and bringing everybody together. I thought that was huge that our coaches and owners had the players’ backs.  

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Longtime season ticket hold Sheryl Nabors was insulted by the statement made by President Donald Trump and will be participating in a peaceful protest during the national anthem.
Autumn Allison/USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

But while the players were unified on Sunday, the reaction from fans was mixed.

“I don’t like politics in sports personally,” said Matt Bailey, who lives in Dallas and attends at least one Titans game per season. “I want to come here and celebrate football. There are causes and there are needs in this country, but I want them to stand for the flag. I really do.

“The players have (the platform), so it’s their choice – they have the constitutional rights to peacefully protest. Do I personally like it? I’m an American. I stand for my flag.”

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For fellow Titans supporter Sheryl Nabors, Trump’s comments on Friday were the final straw.

“When Donald Trump insulted the moms by calling them S.O.B.s, that really hit a nerve with us, especially with us African-American women,” said Nabors, a longtime season-ticket holder from Memphis. “Enough is enough. We’re all planning on sitting (for the national anthem today.)”

“I love this country, and I respect that nowhere but this country could I as an African-American lady have done what I have done … but we have to try to correct some of the injustices.”

Reach Michael Murphy at mfmurphy@tennessean.com or 615-259-8026 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports.

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The Tennessee Titans beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Autumn Allison/USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee