*The Baltimore Ravens sent a letter this week to season-ticket holders, suite holders and sponsors regarding the increased number of no-shows at M&T Bank Stadium this season, citing a protest during the national anthem in London as one possible factor.
The letter, which was signed by team president Dick Cass, mentions that there have been empty seats in the past when the Ravens have had a losing record. But this year, Baltimore is in the hunt for a playoff spot.
“The numbers [of no-shows] are higher, and it is noticeable,” Cass wrote in the 656-word letter, according to ESPN.com. “There are a number of reasons for the no-shows, but surely the one-time protest in London has been a factor.”
The Ravens’ first and last protest as a team during the national anthem occurred in London on Sept. 24, when more than a dozen players knelt during the Star Spangled Banner before their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That began a daylong chain of protests in the wake of Donald Trump’s critical comments and tweets about protests during the anthem.
The following week in Baltimore, the Ravens knelt in prayer before standing for the anthem. Fans at M&T Bank Stadium still booed the players when they took a knee.
The team has not protested since.
“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 wrote.
According to Cass, the Ravens reached out to a number of fans who wrote to the team or called about the protest. Cass also personally made a number of phone calls and met with some fans, the letter stated.
“We want the Ravens to continue to be a strong, unifying force and source of pride in our community,” Cass wrote. “When the Ravens win, we can bring families and the community together. We’ve done that before, and we can do it again.
“In light of recent events, we are also reminded that winning alone is not always enough to make the Ravens the unifying force we want to be. We don’t take your support for granted, and we know that we must continue to earn your respect and investment in us.”