Ray says he wasn't protesting, he was praying.
Ray Lewis joined the Baltimore Ravens in London this past weekend for their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and joined the players on the field in taking a knee during the national anthem. In fact, Lewis dropped to both knees.
However, the former Ravens linebacker claims he only went down on both knees simply to "honor God in the midst of chaos," not to participate in the league-wide demonstration.
Appearing on Showtime’s Inside The NFL, Lewis says,
“You hear people saying, ‘Oh, he took a knee.’ I absolutely did not take a knee. … I’m watching young kids just confused. Everybody confused. Nobody don’t know what they’re talking about. What I’m gonna do if I’m gonna stand up? If I’m gonna grab hands? If I’m gonna interlock? What am I gonna do? So I walked away, [James Brown], and I didn’t drop on one knee and order the protest, Boomer [Esiason]. I dropped on two knees. Both knees. So I can simply honor God in the midst of chaos.”
One of the 'people' Ray was referring to is Fox Sports' 1 host, and his former teammate, Shannon Sharpe, who called Lewis out for going against his own sentiment that he would never kneel during the national anthem.
Lewis was asked why he was directing his response at Sharpe, to which he replied,
“[Sharpe] goes out and tells somebody why he’s so disappointed in me. … Now all these people are going off his soundbites of how he’s so shocked that I dropped on a knee to protest. Really? You got my phone number. … A friend picks up the cell phone and says ‘What was your intention?’ … Let me ask you a serious question. I have first amendment rights. We’ve got people standing, we’ve got people bowing, we’ve got people who don’t even wanna respect the flag. If we wanna make it right, make it two ways: you can only stand or pray.”
Check out some of the reactions to Ray Lewis' comments below.