As the meaning of national anthem demonstrations has shifted from a specific protest against racial injustice and police brutality to a vague stand of unity, it seems that now, some NFL fans have been conditioned to boo any time they see a player taking a knee.
One example of this behavior came before today’s Steelers-Ravens game in Baltimore, when a PA announcement asked fans to join the Ravens in prayer for the embrace of “kindness, unity, equality and justice for all Americans.” That initially led to some cheers from the crowd, but as the Ravens took a knee to actually partake in that prayer, a chorus of clearly audible boos rang out through the stadium. (The team stood up before the anthem began.)
Ravens fans, so hung up on the idea of disrespect, booed a prayer for the vaguest, most agreeable kind of ideals anyone could dream up, and as the Ravens attempted to please everybody, they still pissed off their dumbest portion of supporters. And it wasn’t just in Baltimore:
Any team going into victory formation at the end of a game better be careful.