BALTIMORE — A combat veteran who has been the Baltimore Ravens’ national anthem singer for the past three years has announced his resignation as debate continues about players kneeling during the national anthem.
The move by Joey Odoms comes days after players on the Ravens and many other NFL teams took a knee during the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump’s call for team owners to fire players who don’t stand for the anthem.
Odoms is a former member of the Maryland Army National Guard. He won a 2014 competition to become the anthem singer at Ravens’ home games.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Odoms said his resignation “is not an emotional reaction to recent events, rather an ethical decision.”
Odoms told WJZ News that he is not offended by the players’ actions, but did not want to get mixed up in the controversial discussion.
“I support the protest personally — I fought for that right, but I don’t like people using people like me to attack those people who are exercising their right,” he said.
“If I express how I feel, a segment of the fan base would attack me,” he said.
Team won't disclose plans: The Ravens, meanwhile, have decided against disclosing their planned course of action during the national anthem this Sunday at home against Pittsburgh.
The team met this week to discuss how to react on the sideline during the national anthem. A decision has been reached, but it won’t be shared.
Safety Eric Weddle said Wednesday: “We’ve talked, we’ve had meetings. What we’ve talked about is between us.”
About a dozen players took a knee on the sideline during the anthem before the game last week in London. Others, along with coach John Harbaugh, stood with arms locked.
Weddle said, “A lot of guys on this team were affected a great deal by what our president said.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco said the team stands united, even if some stand during the national anthem while others kneel.
Flacco says, “Nobody is trying to offend anybody and pick sides.”