All quiet around the Ray Lewis statue before Ravens-Steelers game

The Ray Lewis statue outside the north end of M&T Bank Stadium is still there and a steady stream of fans in both Ravens and Steelers gear stopped to take photos in front of it.

If some kind of demonstration was in the works two hours before game time on Sunday, there were some fans in patriotic clothing, but no organized protest.

“It’s flag and country first, football second,” said Tom Rose of White Marsh, who wore an American flag polo shirt and baseball cap. “I’m here. I have season tickets and I called the Ravens and asked ‘Is anybody going to take a knee this week?’ They said they’re not announcing what the Ravens are doing.

“I said, ‘Well, this will be the last game I go to if someone takes a knee.’”

Rose, who is a police officer, said that his family has five season tickets, but only three members of the family were attending Sunday’s game. The other two chose to stay home in protest and did not give away or sell their tickets.

Nick Delpizzo showed up in his Ravens jersey, but said he hopes that there will be no disrespect shown to the flag or the National Anthem.

“Everyone should stand as a courtesy to their country,’’ he said. “I understand their protests. There are avenues to do that, but not during the National Anthem...They have a legitimate gripe about certain issues, but I disagree with kneeling during the anthem.”

Delpizzo said he saw the internet petition that is being circulated to take down the Lewis statue, but doesn’t think that makes sense.

“I actually saw it and it has like 66,000 (signatures) now,’’ he said. “I think that’s excessive. I think he has a right to his opinion. I just disagree with it. I think it opens a dialogue but I think taking the statue down would be wrong.”

Steelers fan Dwayne Wilkins was standing near the statue, but wasn’t entirely sure where Lewis actually stands on the issues that have been debated over the last several weeks.

“To be honest, I think he’s fickle back and forth,’’ Wilkins said, “because he has complained about other stuff in the past and he kind of does an about-face in London. I do believe that people should have the opportunity to have any kind of social, peaceful demonstration.

“I think people who complain about people demonstrating about injustice, there will never be a right time and place. As long as they are not desecrating the flag or anything, I’m okay with it.”

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

twitter.com/schmuckstop

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