Jacksonville Jaguars president Mark Lamping has apologized to the city of Jacksonville’s director of military affairs chief and local military representatives for several players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem prior to their Sept. 24 game against Baltimore in London.
In a letter dated Oct. 6 and sent to Bill Spann, the city’s director of military affairs and veterans department and local military representatives, Lamping said the organization did not fully consider the furor that would result from those actions, especially after the entire team stood for “God Save the Queen.”
Owner Shad Khan, executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin and Lamping hosted Spann and several local military representatives at a meeting at EverBank Field on Oct. 5. They discussed what happened in London and Lamping penned the letter the following day and sent it to Spann and the military reps that attended the meeting. Spann forwarded his copy of the letter to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday afternoon.
“It bears repeating that we were in remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration occurring on foreign soil has had on the men and women who have or continue to serve our country,” Lamping wrote. “Similarly, we today can better appreciate how standing for God Save The Queen may have been viewed negatively by our armed forces here in Jacksonville and beyond. As covered during our conversation on Thursday, this was an oversight and certainly not intended to send a message that would disparage you, our flag or our nation. 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.”
Jacksonville has a heavy military presence and the city is home to Naval Air Station Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville. In addition, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is located roughly 40 miles north of Jacksonville on the outskirts of St. Marys, Georgia.
Curry, who flew to London on the team’s charter and attended the game at Wembley Stadium, released a statement two days after the Sept. 24 game that called the players’ decision to knee during the anthem “stupid.” Curry said that the players have the right not to stand during the anthem but he believes they should.
“I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem,” Curry’s statement read. “I think it’s stupid to do otherwise. The U.S. 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.”
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