More than 70,000 people have signed a petition calling for a statue of Ray Lewis that sits outside M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, to be removed after the former player knelt during the national anthem.
The petition, which has 74,652 signatures, calls for the statue of the Baltimore Ravens football legend to be removed for Lewis’ refusal to stand for the national anthem and respect the country.
The Ravens player ruffled the feathers of many fans after he chose to kneel during the national anthem and lock arms with his teammates on the field last Sunday.
Lewis’ mother, his friends, and other family members gathered by his statue Saturday to pray and kneel in support of the football player after learning of the petition.
“You can’t erase 17 years of history. You can’t erase two Super Bowls,” said Sunseria “Buffy” Smith, Ray Lewis’ mother. “You can’t erase Ray coming here, going to Johns Hopkins Hospital. He do stuff people don’t even know he do.”
Stadium officials placed security guards to keep watch over Lewis’ statue last week after hearing of the petition.
There have not been any organized protests outside the statue in the hours before the Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game Sunday afternoon, although Ravens fans made their displeasure with the players’ protests known once the game began.
At the Sunday afternoon game, Ravens fans booed all those who knelt during the national anthem.