Rishard Matthews announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday morning in an unusual way, days after the receiver was cut by the New Orleans Saints.
Matthews, 29, put a letter on Instagram titled “No Longer Exist” that lists all of the aspects of football he’ll get away from by leaving the game.
“Rishard Matthews the football player No Longer Exist [sic] & it’s okay,” reads the start of the NSFW caption.
Matthews noted that there’s always someone going through something worse than himself and “for athletes it’s important to understand & Move the f— on.”
The Saints, who picked him up in June, released Matthews on Saturday after he chose to leave camp, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett. It was one day after he played in the team’s first preseason game.
What ‘no longer exists’ for Matthews?
Included in his things that “No Longer Exist,” taken directly from his post:
Beating your body up over and over for groups of people to give out a small % of the earnings that they don’t even need
The brainwashing & dividing of culture for a small piece of jewelry
People using me for entertainment and not understanding that i Am a Black Man in America
As a receiver, people controlling your success
Being around just pure fakeness
Matthews was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the 227th overall pick in 2012. He had back-to-back career years with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and 2017, during which he joined Colin Kaepernick with his own way of protesting during the anthem.
After he was granted a requested release last September, he joined the New York Jets and finished the year on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.
“It was cool being a Professional Football Player and getting to play a kids game for work i [sic] will always be a fan of the best sport in the world but for me that Kids game No Longer Exist [sic],” he wrote.
Matthews joined Kaepernick’s cause
Many of Matthews’ points seem to stem from the national anthem controversy still brewing in the NFL years after Kaepernick first took a knee to protest inequality and criminal injustice. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback hasn’t played an NFL down in nearly 900 days.
Matthews hails from a military family and was once critical of Kaepernick and his actions. He pondered the nuances of the controversy, such as the Department of Defense using tax dollars for the NFL’s patriotic ceremonies, and was impacted by the news of black men being shot by police officers.
Slowly it swayed his stance and in 2017 he began staying in the locker room during the national anthem with the exception of Veterans Day weekend. He also pledged money to organizations working in oppressed communities.
“We’ve got to stop preaching stuff and not practicing it,” Matthews said during the season. “Liberty and justice for all — what does that really mean to you? Does it mean what it says, or are you just being a hypocrite?”
Matthews retires with 3,160 career receiving yards and 21 touchdowns over seven years in the league.
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