The Ravens will allow players to do as they please for the national anthem on Sunday, coach John Harbaugh said Friday.
With anthem protests expected around the league for the season-opening weekend, the Ravens are emphasizing that every player has a right to do what they wish as it relates to any sort of silent protest.
“We’ve had the talks with upstairs and down as players in the locker room,” safety Chuck Clark said. “Personally, and as a team, we’re choosing to let everyone do what they choose to do. We all come from different backgrounds and a lot of us have different experiences. Some of us, we can’t relate to what others have been through.”
About two weeks ago, the team released a specific and widely-praised statement on social justice, which called for definitive legislation on police protocols to prevent further police shootings and killings.
Since then, Harbaugh said, the team hasn’t had a ton of specific conversations about what it will do at M&T Bank Stadium against the Browns. Instead, it’s up to the players to do as they choose.
“We encourage our players to be who they are,” Harbaugh said. “When you’re you, that makes us us. Our guys are encouraged to do what’s on their conscience and in their heart. Not to please anybody outside, not to be concerned with what anybody’s else’s opinion is, but to do what expresses how you feel. It’s going to be different for different guys, it’s going to be different for me than other guys out there.”
Harbaugh added that this week, the Ravens’ leadership council had a meeting with owner Steve Bisciotti to discuss plans for the future.
While Harbaugh couldn’t disclose specifics, he assured that it wasn’t just talk, but instead was firm action on the horizon.
“It was good just to hear,” Clark said of the meeting. “We had the previous situation when guys didn’t know what was going to come when we played Jacksonville over in London, if they would get cut whether they chose to take a knee. Just being able to hear the ownership of this team and the head of this team back and support us, that they understand the things going on in this country that a lot of people are tired of. They understand where we’re coming from.”