Jaguars president apologizes for kneeling during national anthem in London
Mark Lamping wrote a letter to apologize to Jacksonville's director of military affairs chief
Before the Ravens-Jaguars game in London on Sept. 24, several members of the Jaguars kneeled during the national anthem and then stood for "God Save the Queen." The Jaguars' demonstration came two days after Donald Trump advocated for teams to fire players who kneel during the anthem. The Jaguars certainly weren't alone in their response to Trump's inflammatory comments.
But the Jaguars still apologized for their actions. In a letter to Bill Spann -- Jacksonville's director of military affairs -- Jaguars president Mark Lamping apologized for kneeling during the anthem on foreign soil. The letter, which you can see here via ESPN, was dated Oct. 6. The letter was first reported and obtained by First Coast News.
Here's the paragraph in which Spann apologizes, via ESPN:
"It bears repeating that we were 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," Lamping wrote. "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's Michael DiRocco, Lamping -- along with Tom Coughlin and owner Shad Khan -- met with Spann and local military representatives on Oct. 5 to discuss the protest. The letter was sent on Oct. 6 and was eventually forwarded by Spann to Jacksonville's mayor, Lenny Curry, who had ripped the Jaguars' players after they kneeled for the anthem.
"I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem," Curry said in a statement, via ESPN. "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."
In the aftermath of the widespread demonstrations, Trump called for the NFL to create a rule that would require players to stand. On Tuesday, several NFL players met with team owners and league officials. A rule regarding the anthem, was not enacted and both sides left feeling optimistic. Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the anthem a year ago to protest racial injustice, remains unsigned. He recently filed a collusion grievance against the owners and was not invited to the meeting on Tuesday.
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