Even as it becomes abundantly clear that the National Football League isn’t going to lift a finger to stop the national anthem protests, one team has had to admit that they were offensive and disrespectful to America.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offended local military groups when their players – along with owner Shahid Khan – protested the Star-Spangled banner while playing a recent game in London but all stood in honor of “God Save the Queen” before kickoff of their tilt with the Baltimore Ravens.
It was a tone-deaf exhibition of defiance against President Trump as well as an astounding lack of awareness of the history of brutality towards blacks under the British Empire that the song served as the anthem for.
Now it is being reported that Jaguars President Mark Lamping sent out a letter to the city’s Director of Military Affairs and Veterans on behalf of the organization issuing a sincere and heartfelt apology for the team’s antics across the pond.
— Florida Times-Union (@jaxdotcom) October 17, 2017
According to the Florida Times-Union via Jacksonville.com “Jaguars organization apologized for London protest”:
It was an apology from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the city’s military leaders that appeared almost two weeks after the team’s Sept. 24 act of protest saw players arm-in-arm with owner Shad Khan as the national anthem played during their London game.
While city officials haven’t commented on the apology or its release to the media 11 days after team president Mark Lamping sent it to Bill Spann, director of Jacksonville’s Military Affairs and Veterans, it isn’t being readily accepted by some military veterans. Others say the political controversy has muddied the original reason for the players’ protests, that of racial inequality.
Lamping and Tom Coughlin, the team’s operations head, met Oct. 5 with Spann in Khan’s office with active and retired military leaders to hear reaction about the protest, according to team officials. Lamping’s letter the next day was a follow-up to that meeting and not an apology to fans, team officials said. The letter came to light late Monday when Spann sent it in an email to Mayor Lenny Curry. Efforts to reach Spann for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Vietnam War veteran Bob Linde, 74, of Arlington said he and friends were very hurt when they saw the Jaguars’ protest in London a few weeks ago. The Marine Corps veteran, who has lived in Jacksonville for 22 years, said he couldn’t believe the team members “had the nerve to do this to us” and wonders about Lamping’s apology.
“It is in response to the empty seats and has nothing to do with the sympathy of the city or for its veterans,” Linde said minutes after learning about the apology letter. “It was sickening. I am not the only vet who feels this way. We all felt the same way. We just turned off the NFL. … It really hurt the veterans to see them overseas, projecting supposedly an image of Jacksonville. And what we projected was an image that we really don’t care for Jacksonville. That hurt.”
“Too little, too late” is Bob Adelhelm’s reaction. The head of Vets4Vets, which connects veterans organizations and those who support them in Northeast Florida, said the protest in London was a “disgraceful act” and the majority of the veterans community he deals with are upset.
“It was just a way to stop the bleeding and it’s all about the money,” Adelhelm said. “Why are the Jaguars apologizing to him (Spann)? And why does he represent the veterans? He’s a bureaucrat appointed by the mayor.
The letter can be read HERE.
It’s clear that the protests struck a nerve in the community as Sunday’s game had the lowest attendance since 2009 when they lost to the Los Angeles Rams.
The skepticism by veterans over the apology as well as the unwillingness of the league to stop the kneelers are both indications that it may be a long time – if ever – that fans start filling those empty seats.
National anthem protests: Florida man takes 'Boycott the Jags and the NFL' message to sky https://t.co/QI9bclTW1c
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 16, 2017