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Ravens Explain Kneeling for Prayer, Standing for National Anthem


The Ravens kneeled for prayer before the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium, then collectively stood once it began.

After a series of conversations over the last week among players, coaches and members of the front office, it was decided that the team would have a prayer.

Before the anthem, which was sung by a trio from the United States Air Force, the Ravens' public address announcer read the following statement:

"Before the singing of the national anthem, please join Ravens players and coaches and the entire Ravens organization to pray that we as a nation embrace kindness, unity, equality and justice for all Americans."

When the Ravens took a knee, they were met with a mixed reaction from the home fans.

"Not all fans realized that the players were praying," Ravens Senior Vice President of Public & Community Relations Kevin Byrne said. "Our public address system is not the best. In fact, it will be replaced next year."

Here's what Ravens players said after the game:

OLB Terrell Suggs
"We knew it was possible that we were going to get [boos]. We just wanted to show to our fans that we still do stand in solidarity. We don't want anybody to lose the narrative of why we're doing it. We don't want people to think that we're disrespecting the flag or the military or anything like that. It was pretty much that we still wanted to show solidarity and an explanation to our fans. As you saw, we all stood up, like we normally do around here."

TE Benjamin Watson"It's their prerogative to boo or not to boo. Fans pay for their ticket, and they get to say what they want to say. We decided as a team collectively to just have a moment of silence with everything that's going on. We wanted to pray for unity, we wanted to show the unity amongst each other."

QB Joe Flacco
"We talked about it a lot in our locker room, and the organization talked about it with the up top. That's what we felt was best for our team. It was definitely leaking into the locker room, and [it was time for] us to get back to football and play football, which is the most important thing for us. It's something that we felt like we had to do to support some of our teammates and things like that. So we thought it was best. You're never surprised about reaction. There's no side here that you're going to win on."

WR Mike Wallace
"You just have to know why you're doing it – know the good that you're doing it for. You can't worry about the negativity that comes with it. We did what we felt like we needed to do. We felt it was a positive move in the right direction for everyone involved."

LB C.J. Mosley
"The leadership discussed it. We all discussed it together. We [made] a collective decision to take a knee before the anthem to show what we're really kneeling for had nothing to do with the anthem, nothing to do with the troops. So even though it was supposed to be a silent prayer, it was mainly boos, but it goes to show that it has nothing to do with the anthem. And we stood up for the anthem because we respect the flag and the veterans and everything that got misconstrued with us taking a knee last week. So we stood for the anthem to tell everybody, and send a message why we're really kneeling. Everybody's going to have their opinion. No matter what we do, somebody's going to be happy, somebody's not going to be happy. But as long as we know, as long as the team knows and we have everybody's back, at the end of the day, that's all that matters."

Check out the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens host the rival Steelers.

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