Most NFL teams have been wary about making public statements regarding the impact of anthem protests on their business, the Baltimore Ravens are not one of them.
The Ravens sent a letter to their season-ticket holders, sponsors, and suite holders, about the number of empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium; specifically, the letter cited the anthem protests as a factor causing the no-shows.
Ravens President Dick Cass wrote, “The numbers [of no-shows] are higher, and it is noticeable. There are a number of reasons for the no-shows, but surely the one-time protest in London has been a factor.”
The Ravens first protested the anthem while in London. The team was in town to play Jacksonville during Week 3, which coincided with President Trump’s strong criticisms of the anthem protests only days before.
The team took a knee again upon their return to Baltimore, though, this time to pray before the start of the anthem. That gesture, however, went over badly with fans who booed the players regardless.
Cass’ letter continued:
We have responded to your concerns about the protest by re-doubling the efforts of both the organization and our players to make the Baltimore area a better community.
We want the Ravens to continue to be a strong, unifying force and source of pride in our community. When the Ravens win, we can bring families and the community together. We’ve done that before, and we can do it again.
In light of recent events, we are also reminded that winning alone is not always enough to make the Ravens the unifying force we want to be. We don’t take your support for granted, and we know that we must continue to earn your respect and investment in us.
The NFL has invested nearly $90 million in various social justice causes recommended by the players, and the activist organizations they’ve hired. Recently, the NFL funded social activist training workshops for athletes and students at Morehouse College.
While the letter from the Ravens seems to be a statement of mere common sense, in its assertion that the protests have negatively impacted their business. Other business leaders have suffered harsh consequences for making that claim. Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter resigned as CEO from the company he founded, after claiming that the NFL protests had hurt his business.