The Baltimore Ravens released a letter to their season-ticket holders, suite holders and sponsors this week about the number of no-shows at the game. In the letter, which was signed by team president Dick Cass, the organization cited the protests in London that Ravens players and personnel were a part of.
"The numbers [of no-shows] are higher, and it is noticeable," Cass wrote. "There are a number of reasons for the no-shows, but surely the one-time protest in London has been a factor.”
The NFL and other organizations took offense to President Donald Trump’s comments previous to Week 3 of the season:
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’,” President Trump said during a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange.
“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
In response, the Ravens and many other teams participated in a protest against his comments, either by linking arms during the national anthem or kneeling.
The team would continue during the next week at home with a kneel before the anthem in prayer. They would stand for the anthem immediately after praying.
To combat the perceived negative response of the anthem protests, Cass was completely amicable to speaking with fans and discussing ways how to better the community that the team is part of.
"We have responded to your concerns about the protest by re-doubling the efforts of both the organization and our players to make the Baltimore area a better community," Cass continued in his letter.
The protests are just one of many reasons
The Ravens didn’t start off the season in the best way. Before going into the bye week, Baltimore sat at 4-5 and had absolutely no identity on offense. Fans were noticeably upset about the team’s play and rightfully so.
Baltimore has since been in the thick of a playoff race, since rattling off three consecutive wins against the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. In recent weeks, they have also found offensive firepower in the passing game.
Despite winning, fans still haven’t really returned in full force to the stadium. Baltimore’s public transportation infrastructure isn’t elite to say the least. Parking is very hard to come by and when one does find parking, it is often expensive. The other issue is that it is costly for the average fan to attend a Ravens game.
The other issue is that the NFL has gotten really good at streaming games and fans can watch from the comfort of their home. Instead of sitting in 40-degree and below weather, fans can save money and have a party for much less than the cost of attending a game, without the hassle.
I’m not saying that the protests aren’t a major issue for a good chunk of fans, but it isn’t the only issue and it should be kept in mind for future reference. With that being said, winning cures all. If Baltimore continues to keep winning and make it into the playoffs, fans will come to games in full force.