The Ravens football team and the fans have made one national anthem singer no longer feel “welcomed.”
Joey Odoms, a combat veteran, resigned after being a team national anthem singer since 2014, sending a message on Instagram about his unfortunate decision:
Dear Ravens Flock
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 welcomed”. 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.
The national anthem singer attributed his resignation to no longer feeling “welcomed” amid the “country's cultural crisis.”
On Sunday, several Ravens players took a knee in protest during the national anthem, including retired linebacker Ray Lewis, while at a football game overseas in London, England.
As the Baltimore Sun reports, Odoms is not only a combat veteran, but he is a songwriter, member of the Maryland Army National Guard, and a 911 operator.
It is sad that the national anthem and the U.S. flag, held by many to be expressions of unity, is now interpreted as division and “cultural crisis.” Let's hope that the nation can heal and become more unified moving forward.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.