Ravens national anthem singer Joey Odoms, a combat veteran, informs team he is resigning

Joey Odoms, the combat veteran who won a competition in 2014 to become the national anthem singer at Ravens home games at M&T Bank Stadium, has resigned from his position, a team spokesperson confirmed Tuesday evening.

"We greatly appreciate the work Joey did for us and we thank him," said Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne.


Odoms' decision comes two days after many players around the NFL took a knee during the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump's comments Friday that called for owners to fire players if they didn't stand for the anthem.

Odoms couldn't immediately be reached for comment. However, in an Instagram post, he wrote that the "tone/actions of a large number of NFL fans in the midst of our country's cultural crisis, have convinced me that I do not belong" at M&T Bank Stadium.

"Someone once told me to always 'go where you're welcomed.' This is not an emotional reaction to recent events, rather an ethical decision that part of me regrets but my core knows is the right choice."

He later added another post to his Instagram account to clarify his initial post:

"Fans who attack players for protesting, (a right in which I fought to defend) but are simply not interested in understanding why, is the reason I am resigning."

The Ravens had approximately a dozen players, a group that included accomplished veterans Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson and Mike Wallace and ex-Raven Ray Lewis, take a knee during the anthem before the team's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.

The display has prompted mixed reactions from Ravens' fans, with some praising the players and others vowing to sell their tickets and not root for the team again.

They have named Joey Odoms as the replacement for outgoing national anthem singer Mishael Miller, who left to become a full-time pastor in Birmingham, Ala.

A member of the Maryland Army National guard until Aug. 10, 2016, according to the guard's public affairs office, Odoms succeeded longtime Ravens' anthem Mishael Miller, who relocated to Alabama after the 2013 season.

Odoms, a songwriter and former 911 operator who grew up in Reservoir Hill, beat out eight other finalists for the job of singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Ravens home games.

He initially expressed interest in the job directly to Ravens coach John Harbaugh. The two met when Harbaugh was visiting the base Odoms was stationed on in Afghanistan in February 2013.

Odoms concluded his original post by thanking fans "for the opportunity to grow as a performer and for allowing me to live out a dream of sharing my gift with you."

As for who will sing the anthem going forward, Byrne said, "We're considering a couple of options."

The Ravens heard from as many as 20 people who have expressed interest in singing Sunday, including some celebrities.

Byrne said the team has a list of three preferences that it is working off of and at least two of the three have agreed to perform the national anthem if invited.


Ray Lewis discusses kneeling with Ravens on Sunday in London.

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