One famous former NFL player is particularly feeling the backlash from #TakeTheKnee Sunday after he chose to join the anthem protesters in refusing to stand for the "Star-Spangled Banner." Former Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis dropped to his knees during the singing of the national anthem — and now a petition calling for the removal of his statue from the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium has collected over 50,000 signatures.
Blowback from the NFL's decision to fully embrace Colin Kaepernick's openly anti-American protest "movement" has already resulted in some deeply troubling developments for the NFL, including DirecTV taking the unprecedented step of offering refunds for now-former fans' NFL packages. As the league went all in on the highly politicized moment, it found its ratings continuing to plummet, down 11% over the previous year.
On Sunday, Lewis, who had been critical of Kaepernick in the past, chose to take a knee — in fact two knees — in solidarity with his anthem-protesting teammates. The response from fans has been overwhelming. CBS Baltimore reports that the blowback has been so strong that the Maryland Stadium Authority has been forced to station additional security to protect the statue.
Meanwhile, a change.org petition calling for the removal of the statue has exploded online. As of the publication of this article, the petition has earned over 51,000 signatures. Here's the full text of the petition:
I want the Ray Lewis statue at Ravens Stadium removed because of his refusal to stand during the National Anthem. That song honors our country and our veterans who fought for it. To kneel during it is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting. I will not stand for that kind of disrespect towards our country, especially from a legend such as Ray Lewis. You stand for the National Anthem as a salute to those who can't stand because they fought for this land.
CBS notes that Lewis spoke about the petition with local sports radio host Scott Garceau (105.7 The Fan) Tuesday evening and defended his actions as being "for our country."
"It only bothers me if I blatantly did something to gain awareness for myself. What I did — is for our country. That’s why I challenge people,” he said. Stressing that he took two knees rather than one, Lewis said, "You can protest, I’m gonna pray."
As the NFL attempts to play damage control with its disastrous handling of the protests dating back to the 2016 season, the Lingerie Football League, now known as the Legends Football League, is showing up the men's league and showing the nation how its done:
The Legends Football League, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, responded to the NFL this week by announcing that they stand for the national anthem because the sacrifices made by American heroes are "far too sacred" to protest.
"The LFL recognizes everyone's First Amendment right to protest, but our nation's flag and anthem are far too sacred," the league said Tuesday. "Too many fellow Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that our flag and anthem continue in all its majesty."
Imagine if the NFL had simply made that strong, unifying statement back in 2016 rather than letting the divisive, openly anti-American protests build until they completely took over the league this weekend. The NFL might try to blame President Trump for "forcing their hand" this weekend, but no one's buying that, as the response from fans all over the country demonstrates.