As the NFL continues to work its way through a public relations crisis of biblical proportions, a great many Americans are illustrating the league’s apparent hypocrisy.
Colin Kaepernick’s divisive and offensive anthem-kneeling protest has gone mainstream this week, with as many as 23% of all NFL players kneeling, sitting, or abstaining from participating in the National Anthem altogether. This has caused an obvious and tangible rift between the league and its fans, many of whom are calling for a boycott in the wake of the anti-American gestures popping up in nearly every contest this past weekend.
Many are citing an apparent double standard of behavior that the NFL is actively promoting in order to focus their marketing efforts on millennials and younger fans, while simply ignoring the more traditional beliefs of their longtime spectators. This shallow and dangerous outlook has allowed any number of misbehaving players to return to the field of play after some form of punishment, while the anthem protesters are virtually encouraged by Roger Goodell and his cronies.
A common complaint among NFL fans has been the leniency shown by the league when it comes to criminal activity among players. Domestic abuse, animal cruelty, drunk driving, drug possession, and assault are all part and parcel to the history of the NFL, but one man’s off-the-field actions dwarf them all, and fans aren’t willing to let Ray Lewis continue to tarnish the game.
The problem is; the NFL is actively protecting Lewis’ character, even though there is the very real possibility that Lewis skated on a murder he committed after cutting a deal with the prosecution.
Now, the Baltimore Ravens have been forced to ramp up security at their stadium to protect a statue of Lewis amid calls for its removal.
“Extra security has been added near the statue of retired Ravens star Ray Lewis at M&T Bank Stadium after he joined current players Sunday in kneeling during the national anthem, provoking calls to remove the likeness.
“As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, more than 36,000 people had signed an online petition on change.org that advocates for the removal of the Lewis statue ‘because of his refusal to stand during the National Anthem.’
“’That song honors our country and our veterans who fought for it,’ the petition reads. ‘To kneel during it is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting.’
“Given recent statue-related protests and vandalism, the Maryland Stadium Authority didn’t wait until this Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to take precautions.
“’Certainly observers can notice the presence of uniformed security officers at M&T Bank Stadium, which includes the statue plaza,’ she said. ‘The additional officers and other security enhancements have been in place since Sunday afternoon.’”
The case of Ray Lewis, and his participation in the latest scandalous protests on the field, has only deepened the disdain for the former player in the minds of America.
The threat of having the Ray Lewis statue toppled by a gang of vigilantes is very real. Earlier this year, amid the Confederate memorial purge of 2017, Baltimore was one of several cities who quietly and secretly removed historical statues in the dead of night in order to avoid scenes like the one that played out in North Carolina, as angry “social justice warriors” lassoed and toppled a statute of Robert E. Lee in order to take selfies with their vandalism.