Following a massive protest by NFL players during the National Anthem on Sunday, many supports of the #TakeAKnee movement have made it clear that the demonstration was not simply one that took place during the National Anthem but was a protest of the anthem, our flag, and America themselves for social injustices. And for at least one combat veteran involved in the NFL, he was so upset over the whole issue that he quit his job.
Since 2014, Maryland Army National Guardsman Joey Odoms has been singing the National Anthem for the Baltimore Ravens’ home games. He started after winning a competition to become their next singer, according to the Baltimore Sun. But following Sunday’s protest, Odoms decided that the fame and the paycheck he was receiving for singing at NFL games were not worth the feeling that he was no longer welcomed.
He explained his decision on Facebook Tuesday:
“Dear Ravens Flock,” he wrote. “I am resigning as Official National Anthem Singer of the Baltimore Ravens. The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at the Ravens organization have been nothing but nice to me, however the tone/actions of a large number of NFL fans in the midst of our country’s cultural crisis, have convinced me that I do not belong there. Someone once told me to always ‘go where you’re welcome’. This is not an emotional reaction to recent events, rather an ethical decision that part of me regrets but my core knows is the right choice. Thank you so much for the opportunity to grow as a performer and for allowing me to live out a dream of sharing my gift with you.”
But even though his actions quickly went viral, the wording of his statement did not make it entirely clear if he was upset over the National Anthem protest or over the many fans who criticized the protest. News outlets reported it different ways, with the Washington Post noting that Odoms “was not specific about the cause for his departure.”
But then, four hours later, Odoms clarified why he quit:
He wrote, “Fans who attack players for protesting, (a right in which I fought to defend) but are simply not interested in understanding why, is the reason I am resigning.”
"We greatly appreciate the work Joey did for us, and we thank him," the Ravens said in a statement, according to ESPN.
Odoms served several tours in Afghanistan and is still a member of the Guard. He met Ravens Coach John Harbaugh when Harbaugh visited Odom’s base in Kandahar.
What do you think of this? In related news, conservative Christian NFL player Derek Carr stood during the anthem while the rest of his team knelt, and then surprised America with what he did next.