Jacksonville Jaguars President Apologizes to City Official for the Team Kneeling During National Anthem in London

Jacksonville Jaguar players protest on Sept. 24, 2017 in London, England / Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguar players on Sept. 24, 2017 / Getty Images


Jacksonville Jaguars president Mark Lamping apologized to a city official for several players kneeling during the national anthem at the Sept. 24 London game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Lamping wrote a letter, dated Oct. 6,  to Jacksonville's director of military affairs chief Bill Spann, ESPN reports. In the letter, Lamping said the team didn't consider the backlash that followed and the perception of kneeling during the national anthem, but standing for "God Save the Queen" on foreign soil.

"It bears repeating that we were in 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.

Lamping explained the team didn't intend to send a disparaging message and apologized to Spann, who is also a retired military officer.

"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," the letter states. "We owe you an apology and hope you will accept it."

Spann shared the letter with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

Curry was at the game in London and released a statement two days after the game, calling the protest "stupid," but saying he believed the players have a right to protest.

"I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem," Curry's statement read. "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."

Curry continues to be a fan of the team as he attended the Oct. 8 game with Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

During the London game, the majority of Jaguars players linked arms for the playing of the national anthem, while Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler took a knee.

A group of NFL owners and players met with commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, but no direct action was taken to address how the NFL will approach protests during the national anthem moving forward. NFL owners are expected to further discuss how the league can move forward on future protests at their regularly scheduled meeting later on Tuesday.

Andrew Kugle   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Andrew Kugle is the assistant social media editor for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2013. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, he worked as a Staff/Press Assistant for South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Andrew is from De Pere, Wisconsin and lives in D.C. His Twitter handle is @AndrewJKugle. You can reach him at kugle@freebeacon.com.

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