NFL players have picked a losing battle with the American flag and the National Anthem.
Fans responded by booing the anti-American protesters or boycotting the games all together.
Even legends who have enjoyed strong fan support are feeling the wrath of disrespecting this country.
Hall of Famer Ray Lewis knelt alongside his former teammates on the Baltimore Ravens as boos rained down.
Even further, people are circulating a petition to have Ray Lewis’s statue removed from the stadium.
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.
Lewis has had a complicated past with fans and the media. Back in 2000, he was charged with murder and later pled down to obstruction of justice after a deadly incident at a night club.
Lewis and the Ravens used the exterior anger to fuel a season that culminated with a Super Bowl victory.
Lewis slowly rebuilt his image and became an ambassador for the Ravens organization.
He recently attempted to get controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job with the team, but the effort was torpedoed by Kaepernick’s girlfriend after she tweeted a derogatory picture of Lewis and team owner Steve Bisciotti.
Now things have come full circle and Lewis is kneeling in the same manner Kaepernick did.
While Lewis’s reasons may be different, the symbolism is the same, and it’s unfortunate.
The city of Baltimore appreciates Ray Lewis, but the city appreciates the country more.
Lewis just lost a large swath of fans he won’t be able to win back this time.