The Ravens event was this year’s Military Appreciation Day and included reserved seating and a Ravens-themed gift for active service members. Both events presented an opportunity to get a sense of how the team’s recent dalliance with controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick is viewed in an area that is home to the historic United States Naval Academy.
Kaepernick, of course, created a national furor when he chose last season to sit or kneel during the national anthem before San Francisco 49ers games in protest of racial inequality and police brutality. Ten days ago, the Ravens brought the issue home to the birthplace of “The Star-Spangled Banner” when coach John Harbaugh revealed the team was considering Kaepernick as a possible replacement if Joe Flacco’s back injury proved serious.
The debate continues and the issue remains open because the Ravens still are not sure when Flacco will be ready to play. Though Kaepernick’s protest was not explicitly directed at the armed forces, it was widely interpreted that way.
“To me, it was disrespectful,” said disabled Marine Corps veteran Kevin Brazen of Abbottstown, Pa. “Do I support the Ravens? Yes, but that’s our national anthem. That’s our flag and it represents our country.”
That opinion was shared by countless fans on Twitter and other social media outlets. The Ravens also received a lot of negative feedback from season-ticket holders, many of whom threatened to sell their permanent seat licenses and cancel their ticket plans.
Though many veterans acknowledge that Kaepernick had a right to put his athletic celebrity behind a cause, some of them took issue with the propriety of hijacking the NFL’s international stage to make a personal…