'You Can Protest, I'm Gonna Pray': Ray Lewis Explains Why He Knelt During Anthem
The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker spoke on why he kneeled on both knees alongside players at a recent game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
Appearing on Showtime’s Inside The NFL, Ray Lewis said:
You hear people saying, ‘Oh, he took a knee.’ I absolutely did not take a knee…I’m watching young kids just confused. Everybody confused. Nobody don’t know what they’re talking about. What I’m gonna do if I’m gonna stand up? If I’m gonna grab hands? If I’m gonna interlock? What am I gonna do? So I walked away, [James Brown], and I didn’t drop on one knee and order the protest, Boomer [Esiason]. I dropped on two knees. Both knees. So I can simply honor God in the midst of chaos.
Lewis also spoke on Shannon Sharpe, his former teammate, and Fox Sports 1 host, saying that he was “very disappointed” in Lewis for kneeling after he initially said that he would never kneel during the national anthem. Here’s Lewis’ response:
[Sharpe] goes out and tells somebody why he’s so disappointed in me…Now all these people are going off his soundbites of how he’s so shocked that I dropped on a knee to protest. Really? You got my phone number…A friend picks up the cell phone and says ‘What was your intention?’…Let me ask you a serious question. I have first amendment rights. We’ve got people standing, we’ve got people bowing, we’ve got people who don’t even wanna respect the flag. If we wanna make it right, make it two ways: you can only stand or pray.
Ray Lewis is a clown. pic.twitter.com/Nsate97NlF
— Average Joe (@MettaWorIdWar) September 27, 2017
Since kneeling, a petition has been made to remove Lewis’ statue from outside the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium. The petition’s creator, Eric Moniodis wrote that he wanted the statue taken down because of Lewis’ “refusal to stand during the National Anthem.”
“That song honors our country and our veterans who fought for it. To kneel during it is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting,” Moniodis said. “I will not stand for that kind of disrespect towards our country, especially from a legend such as Ray Lewis. You stand for the National Anthem as a salute to those who can’t stand because they fought for this land.” The petition has over 32,000 signatures.