There’s been lots of good news coming out of the Baltimore Ravens camp lately. According to ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio, the team’s head coach, John Harbaugh, should be on the short list for those considered for the Coach of the Year award. This comes as a number of Ravens’ former assistant coaches who moved to coaching positions only to lose to their old team during this season.
Indeed, even though the Ravens have been plagued by injuries — through week 15, the tally of games missed by injured players was 213 — and a lackluster offensive punctuated by chronic struggles, Florio notes that the franchise has continued to persevere. In fact, the Ravens might even wind up with a playoff berth — to the chagrin of archrivals like Pittsburgh and New England.
The real question, though, is whether or not the Ravens fans will be there to cheer their team on. While the players evidently think Harbaugh is a fine coach and great at not letting the players wallow in their defeats and challenges, what remains to be seen are how the fans will react to the Ravens’ continued political statements on the field.
According to a recent letter that the team’s president, Dick Cass, recently sent to the holders of Ravens’ season tickets, the lack of attendance in the form of no-shows by said season-ticket holders was significant enough to warrant such a correspondence. Cass noted that no-shows aren’t a new thing as the team — as others in the NFL — frequently experience them when the on-field play is not up to the standards expected by the fans. Cass also acknowledged that the team’s struggles on the offensive front, as well as the injuries sustained by key and supporting players alike, have all lead to more fans staying at home.
In spite of the above factors, Cass stated that the team’s fans were also responding to the protest by players in London. That protest, which occurred on September 24 during an NFL “exchange” game, involved most of the Ravens’ players — as well as the Jacksonville Jaguars — either sitting or kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. Players then stood as God Save the Queen was played. Other players linked arms to show their unity.
This particular protest — while not the only one spearheaded by the players — was the first that occurred on a Sunday because the game was held in London. Since then, the NFL as a whole has experienced plummeting attendance and its games as well as dismal television ratings. Though Cass was careful to portray the Ravens’ participation in the protests as only one factor in the lackluster attendance at the team’s recent games at M&T Bank Stadium, it’s clear that the London protest was a major consideration.
Cass stated that the team’s management has reached out to a number of fans who have contacted the franchise via phone and/or email. He noted that some people have welcomed the opening of talks that the protests brings. Others, he noted, wanted the team to simply concentrate on playing football and leave the politics off the field.
If the Ravens want to stave off dismal statistics like the ones they experienced when they played the Houston Texans during the Monday night game — while more than a quarter of Baltimore households tuned in, only six percent of those nationally did so — the football team should concentrate on playing their best game. Keep their offense sharp and hone other players that can step in when seasoned ones get injured.
Many season ticket holders are diehard fans who have been with the franchise since they arrive in Baltimore more than 20 years ago. They head to the home games to get away from the stressors of life — not to get caught up in the latest political protest.
Yes, all lives matter and everyone does their part to make sure that all Americans have access to the American dream. At the Ravens’ football games though — as well as those throughout the NFL — players should leave the protesting and similar antics to their personal lives and not when they’re working.
~ Liberty Planet