The Maryland Stadium Authority has added over-night guards to protect a Ray Lewis statue outside M&T Bank Stadium after calls for the statue’s removal began after the former All-Pro took a knee with his former team last Sunday.
According to ESPN, a petition begun by a white man in Maryland calling for the statues removal had over 50,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
The petition, posted on Change.org, reads: “I want the Ray Lewis statue at Ravens Stadium removed because of his 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,” it continues.”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.”
ESPN notes that the extra security was put in place Sunday afternoon at the stadium after the Ravens played their game in London early Sunday morning, becoming, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the first NFL teams pushing back against President Donald Trump’s comments on players protesting racial inequality in the U.S.
During the game, Lewis was seen down on both knees and has explained that he was praying during the anthem, stating, “I dropped on two knees — both knees — so I can simply honor God in the midst of chaos.”