On ESPN's NFL Live (h/t ESPN.com's Cameron Wolfe), Matthews said he will kneel during the national anthem until President Donald Trump offers an apology for calling any player who kneels a "son of a bitch":
"I plan to kneel until the president apologizes for the comments that he made because I felt like those were very disrespectful comments that he made. The league is made up of I think over 70 percent of African-Americans, so the people that would be kneeling for this cause would be African-Americans. To keep it honest, he was calling a lot of us and he was calling me an S.O.B., and that's not OK and very disrespectful. So, I plan to kneel until the president apologizes."
In addition to his derogatory comments toward NFL players, Trump tweeted players should stand for the anthem or lose their jobs. Matthews took issue with the notion playing in the NFL was a privilege and not something earned through years of hard work:
In response to Trump's tweets, about 200 players protested in some form during Sunday's games. Matthews and his teammates opted against coming onto the field for the anthem. The Seattle Seahawks remained in the locker room as well:
Wolfe noted Matthews' dad served 23 years in the United States military, and his brother, who had served in the U.S. Marines, died in Afghanistan working as a defense contractor.
Matthews said he respects the opinion of any serviceman or servicewoman who feels the anthem protest is disrespectful despite that not being the movement's intention, per the Tennessean's Joe Rexrode.