Jacksonville Jaguars President Apologizes to City Veterans Official for Team Anthem Protest in London

AP Matt Dunham Jags
AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Many have wondered how the NFL might make amends with fans and veterans, for the weekly disrespect that players have shown by kneeling for the national anthem. Well, what the Jacksonville Jaguars did earlier this month would be a good start.

Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping sent a letter of apology to Bill Spann, Jacksonville’s city director of military affairs, as well as several local military members. In the letter, dated October 6th, Lamping apologized for the large number of Jaguars who knelt during the anthem in London on September 24th.

What upset many veterans, and others, was not just the Jaguars decision to kneel for the U.S. anthem, but the decision to stand for Britain’s anthem, “God Save the Queen.”

A fact which Lamping addressed in his letter to the veterans:

It bears repeating that we were in remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration occurring on foreign soil has had on the men and women who have or continue to serve our country. Similarly, we today can better appreciate how standing for God Save The Queen may have been viewed negatively by our armed forces here in Jacksonville and beyond. As covered during our conversation on Thursday, this was an oversight and certainly not intended to send a message that would disparage you, our flag or our nation. The notion never entered the minds of our players or anyone affiliated with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but today we can understand how the events in London on September 24 could have been viewed or misinterpreted. We owe you an apology and hope you will accept it.

According to ESPN, “Owner Shad Khan, executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin and Lamping hosted Spann and several local military representatives at a meeting at EverBank Field on Oct. 5. They discussed what happened in London and Lamping penned the letter the following day and sent it to Spann and the military reps that attended the meeting.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who actually flew to London with the team back in September, had some harsh words for the players who chose to kneel. Soon after arriving back in Jacksonville, Curry issued a statement about the players conduct during the anthem. Curry wrote, “I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem. I think it’s stupid to do otherwise. The U.S. Constitution protects the right for a lot of people to do a lot of stupid things. I am a Constitutional Conservative, so I respect the wisdom of our Founders.”

The Jaguars have come under increased scrutiny since their anthem protest in London. Just this past weekend, a small plane flew over their stadium prior to kickoff. The plane pulled a banner which read: “Be American.Boycott the Jags & the NFL.”

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, who has referred to President Trump as the “Great Divider,” was in New York on Tuesday to meet representatives from the rest of the league, and the players. About how the NFL should handle player conduct during the anthem going forward. The four-hour meeting did not produce a resolution, though the two sides have agreed to meet again.