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Jaguars president apologises for NFL players kneeling in London

The anthem protest move started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Image: Simon Cooper

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS PRESIDENT Mark Lamping has apologised to the Florida city’s director of military affairs for players kneeling for the US national anthem at a September NFL game in London.

In a letter to Bill Spann, director of Jacksonville’s director of military affairs and veterans, Lamping said the Jaguars organisation did not fully consider the emotions that would be aroused by players kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in London on 24 September against Baltimore.

While the entire Jaguars squad stood for a pre-game playing of “God Save The Queen”, several Jaguars kneeled during the US anthem in the first NFL game to kickoff after comments last month by US President Donald Trump raised awareness of the anthem protest move started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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.

The letter was dated 6 October but became public Tuesday, a day after Spann sent a copy of it to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who said the decision by Jaguars players to kneel for the anthem was “stupid.”

The Jaguars and London-based football club Fulham are both owned by Pakistani-born US billionaire businessman Shahid Khan.

While Trump has criticised kneeling players as insulting the nation, flag and US soldiers, Kaepernick and other kneeling players have steadfastly said the protest move was aimed at raising awareness of racial injustice and social inequality in the wake of several 2016 fatal shootings of African-Americans by white police officers.

Lamping said the lack of consideration for the wide range of reactions was “an oversight and certainly not intended to send a message that would disparage (the military), 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.”

– © AFP 2017

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