NFL teams have agonized over how to balance protesting, with respect for the flag, during the national anthem. On Sunday, Ravens fans let their team know there’s only one acceptable choice: Stand.
The Ravens took a page out of the Dallas Cowboys anthem playbook on Sunday, by taking a knee before the playing of the anthem, and then standing during it. In response, a stream of boos came descended on the players from the assembled crowd at M&T Bank Stadium:
Ravens fans cheered as announcer said team endorses kindness, unity, equality & justice then immediately boo when team kneels before anthem pic.twitter.com/GyIHKOsWLB
— Jessie (@JMKTV) October 1, 2017
According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, “Ravens players knelt before the national anthem began, and then rose. There was a clamoring of boos when the players knelt. Before the anthem, an announcement was made in the stadium for everyone to pray as a nation to embrace kindness, justice, unity and equality.”
Instead, it seems like Ravens fans just wanted to embrace football.
The Steelers, who elected to not come out of the tunnel for the anthem last weekend, remained standing on the sidelines.
What does all this mean? It means that anthem demonstrations, whether they happen before or during the song, have become so toxic that Ravens fans are booing the Ravens, and not the hated Steelers.
Let that sink in.