Jaguars Apologize To Local Military Officials For Anthem Demonstration While In London
Jaguars President Mark Lamping last week apologized to local military officials for "not fully understanding the potential impact of several players' decision to kneel during the national anthem" before their Sept. 24 game against the Ravens in London, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. In an Oct. 6 letter to Jacksonville Dir of Military Affairs and Veterans Department Bill Spann, Lamping said that the organization "did not fully consider the furor that would result from those actions, especially given that the entire team stood for 'God Save the Queen.'" Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan, Exec VP/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 wrote the letter the next day and sent it to Spann and the military reps that attended the meeting." Lamping wrote, "We were 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. ... 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." DiRocco noted Jacksonville has a "heavy military presence," including Naval Air Station Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is "located roughly 40 miles north of Jacksonville on the outskirts of St. Marys, Georgia" (ESPN.com, 10/17).
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE? In Jacksonville, Dan Scanlan in a front-page piece notes Lamping in the letter also "thanked the local military leaders for being its partner now and in the future, saying his words were echoed by Khan and Coughlin." But Bob Adelhelm, who heads the Northeast Florida Vets4Vets, said that the protest in London was a "'disgraceful act' and the majority of the veterans community he deals with are upset. Adelhelm also said the Jaguars' apology was "just a way to stop the bleeding and it’s all about the money" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/18).