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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Jaguars inflict heavy defeat on Ravens amid anthem protest at Wembley Stadium

It was a third consecutive win for the Jaguars at the London based arena.

Image: Simon Cooper

IT WAS AN easy win for the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they handed out a 44-7 defeat to the Ravens in the NFL International Series match at Wembley Stadium.

Blake Bortles threw four touchdown passes, while Marcedes Lewis caught a career-high three touchdown passes on the way to a heavy victory over the Baltimore side.

Allen Hurns and Leonard Fournette also scored touchdowns for the Jaguars, in what was their third win on the bounce at Wembley Stadium. They previously lost their first two fixtures there.

It was a difficult outing for the Ravens, who only had 186 yards of total offence, with Benjamin Watson scoring a touchdown in the last four minutes to prevent a shutout.

There was a controversial moment before the game started, when players from both sides chose to kneel during the Star Spangled Banner.

Their actions came in the wake of comments made by US President Donald Trump, in which he condemned players who are protesting against racial inequality.

It was one of the largest protests by NFL players during the national anthem since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began refusing to stand for the anthem in 2016.

The league is expected to see widespread protests later Sunday when the full schedule of fixtures take place in games across the US.

Trump triggered uproar on Friday by saying that players who protested during the anthem should be sacked, branding them “sons of bitches” at a rally in Alabama.

Trump’s remarks drew widespread criticism from across the National Football League, with players, owners and league chiefs lining up to condemn his tirade.

An unrepentant Trump doubled down on his comments early on Sunday however, repeating his demand for players to be fired and urging fans to boycott games if the protests continued.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium Baltimore Ravens players locking arms during the anthem. Source: Simon Cooper

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

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“…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back US.”

On Saturday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement criticising Trump’s comments.

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players,” Goodell wrote.

The protests began in August 2016, when Kaepernick refused to stand during playing of the national anthem in protest at the treatment of minorities by law enforcement.

It followed the high-profile deaths of several unarmed black men during confrontations with police officers.

Kaepernick was widely ostracised for his stance and has since been unable to find an employer in the NFL, which is America’s most popular professional sports league.

However support for Kaepernick’s position has since snowballed, given added momentum by Trump’s latest salvo.

© – AFP, 2017  

With additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell

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