Since NFL personnel locked arms or took a knee in protest of police brutality and racial injustice, spectators have voiced their opposition to players exercising the First Amendment. They’ve made their complaints known across social media that now, a petition has been created to remove the statue of a former NFL player.
According to The Root, Ray Lewis’ statue that stands outside of Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, is the target of removal as outlined in a petition that has amassed over 54,000 signatures. The reason? Because Lewis decided to kneel while the national anthem played during the Baltimore Ravens’ game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday (Sept. 24).
“That song honors our country and our veterans who fought for it,” a part of the petition reads, per The Baltimore Sun. “To kneel during it is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting.” The news site notes that security was beefed up around the statue.
“I dropped on two knees — both knees — so I can simply honor God in the midst of chaos,” Lewis said. The 42-year-old Inside The NFL commentator also had a few words for Undisputed‘s Shannon Sharpe who expressed his disappointment with Lewis.
“When I got to New Orleans I fell on my knees. Because my mother taught me what I should do in the mist of chaos. So when a brother attacks me talking I took a knee on my country? I fight for my country. I fight for my country and the only thing I would love to just ask, like I got all these former teammates saying all of this but was you disappointed in me when I walked with Trayvon Martin’s family? I took both of my sons. And I wanted them to see what walking in justice felt like. Because I have lived it. Was you disappointed in me when Mike Brown was killed in St. Louis – I went to St. Louis and gave jobs. Were you disappointed in me then? Shannon were you busy? Were you busy when Trayvon Martin’s family was walking? Because I didn’t see you there. Were you busy when Mike Brown was killed ‘cause I didn’t see you there either. I live black. I’m from the streets. I’ve been doing this 22-plus years … fighting injustice.”