An online petition has gone viral, garnering nearly 50,000 signatures to remove Ray Lewis’s statue.

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The petition started after the former football star took two knees during the National Anthem on Sunday, September 24 Baltimore Ravens game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. “That song honors our country and our veterans who fought for it,”  the petition reads. “To kneel during it is disrespectful, regardless of what you are protesting.”

Ray Lewis statue in front of M&T Bank Stadium


After criticism from both sides of the fence, most notably from “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” sports commentator Shannon Sharpe, Lewis declared that he was praying- not protesting, while he knelt to “simply honor God in the midst of chaos” on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”

“You hear people saying, ‘Oh, he took a knee.’ I absolutely did not take a kneel. I’m watching young kids just confused. Everybody confused. Nobody don’t know what they’re talking about. What I’m going to do if I’m going to stand up? If I’m going to grab hands? If I’m going to interlock [arms]? What am I going to do? So I walked away … and I didn’t drop on one knee and order the protest … I dropped on two knees.”

“There is additional security at the statue plaza at this time,” said Rachelina Bonacci, a Maryland Stadium Authority spokeswoman, which is the team’s stadium landlord.

“Certainly observers can notice the presence of uniformed security officers at M&T Bank Stadium, which includes the statue plaza,” she continued. “The additional officers and other security enhancements have been in place since Sunday afternoon.”

The Baltimore Ravens battle the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, October 1.

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