President Trump has scored a number of victories in cultural battles with the NFL. In the latest move by a professional football team, Trump appears to again be vindicated — to the celebration of his core supporters.
According to Fox News, the Jacksonville Jaguars apologized to the US military for their players’ refusal to stand for the national anthem when the team traveled to London last month. Jaguars President Mark Lamping said that, at the time, they did not realize that refusing to honor the flag on foreign soil would be offensive to military veterans.
Lamping sent a letter of apology to Jacksonville’s Director of Military Affairs & Veterans, which said the team was “remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration on foreign soil has had on the men and women who have or continue to serve our country.”
The military and veterans affairs department forwarded the letter to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry through his government email. The apology is now seen as a way of recovering from what was widely perceived as a slight against the Jaguars’ home country.
Last month, the team went overseas as part of the annual NFL game in Britain. The UK appearance came right on the heels of President Trump’s highly-publicized suggestion that teams should fire players who kneel during the national anthem.
The remark prompted players all across the NFL to take a knee rather than stand for the national anthem. The Jaguars followed suit during their London game. About a dozen players knelt while the rest of the team locked arms in “unity.”
However, all of the Jaguars stood during the playing of the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen.” The Jaguars faced backlash for this gesture, which many interpreted as signifying a lack of patriotism. Lamping says that wasn’t the team’s intention.
“This was an oversight and certainly not intended to send a message that would disparage you, our flag or our nation,” Lamping wrote on behalf of Jaguars owner Shahid Khan (a Pakistani-born billionaire), and the team’s executive vice president of football operations, Tom Coughlin.
Lamping’s letter was dated October 6th and sent directly to Bill Spann, who heads Jacksonville’s Department of Military Affairs & Veterans. Lamping attempted to portray the London incident as a misunderstanding.
“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,” the letter read.
The Jaguars apologized for their disrespect to our nation’s veterans and military personnel. Do you forgive them?
The email was forwarded to Mayor Curry, who released a statement after the game rebuking the Jaguars. “I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem,” he said. “I think it’s stupid to do otherwise. The US 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.”
Jacksonville hosts a US naval base and is a Republican-leaning town. Many in the city were angered by the Jaguars’ national anthem protest and vowed to never attend another game. Needless to say, the protests by the players in the NFL are resulting in widespread consequences.