Ravens

Martindale putting his players first with anthem protest

Ravens

Several Ravens players, including Lamar Jackson, Matthew Judon and Calais Campbell, either took a knee or sat on the bench during the national anthem in Week 1. It was, as they said, "A demonstration for social justice and equality for all Americans."

Among them was defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who took a knee beside Campbell during the anthem. 

Everyone has their own reasons for standing or kneeling during the anthem, and when asked what his was Thursday, Martindale pointed to his players. 

"This is four years today of Clarence Brooks' passing and one of his favorite sayings is one I've always used is, 'This game always has been and always will be about the players,'" Martindale said. "I was in those meetings with them and I just heard the hurt in their heart and voice about what's going on right now.

"I'm going to support the players until we all really attack all kinds of issues in our country and just stop the hate," Martindale said. "It's not going to work itself until we all, and [John Harbaugh] said it great, the players just want to make this country great and that's what I hear from them."

Martindale said he's received positive feedback for what he did Sunday and that he plans to continue doing it, though he wants it to be known that the issues he and his players are bringing awareness to won't get resolved until everyone gets involved. 

"I think we all have to take a look at this," Martindale said. "Until all of us get a look at it, it's not going to get fixed, and I want to support the players."

 

The Ravens continue to be one of the more active NFL franchises within their respective communities, donating $1 million to local social justice reform programs and sending a letter to congressman Mitch McConnell to bring the Justice in Policing Act to a vote. 

It's the players who started those initiatives, and it's clear more individuals other than Martindale share his feelings toward supporting them in this difficult time.