Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Thursday that he believes “in standing for the flag,” his first public comments since the approval Wednesday of the controversial new NFL policy that will allow players to remain in the locker room during the national anthem but require those who are on the sidelines to stand.
“To me, the flag represents the ideas and the ideals that make us America,” Harbaugh said in a statement issued before the Ravens’ on-field organized team activity, which was open to reporters. “I also believe in the freedoms the flag represents and that people can speak for themselves. I know this: Our players respect the flag and what it represents. And, we’re all proud at the Ravens of the work they do to make this community and country better.”
Harbaugh’s comment comes less than a year after he said he “100 percent” supported the decision of honorary captain Ray Lewis and about a dozen players to kneel during the national anthem before a September game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
“We have our disagreements,” Harbaugh said then of the Ravens, speaking generally. “That's what a team's all about. That's the beautiful thing about sport. You have the chance to express that on the field of play. You may not agree, but you can stand together.”