Baltimore native and Army combat veteran Joey Odoms has been singing the national anthem at Ravens home football games since he won the job in a competition in 2014. However, he resigned Tuesday because of the angry reaction many fans had after seeing NFL players kneel while the “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played.
“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,” Odoms said, in the message he posted on his private Instagram account, as reported in the Baltimore Sun.
He noted, “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.”
A member of the Maryland National Guard who served tours of duty in Afghanistan, Odom’s resignation comes a few days after more than 200 NFL players, including nearly a dozen Baltimore Ravens, conducted kneeling protests on Sunday.
Reacting to Odoms’ resignation, Ravens Senior Vice President of Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne said, “We greatly appreciate the work Joey did for us and we thank him.”
According to reports, Odoms 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,” according to the Sun. “The two met when Harbaugh was visiting the base Odoms was stationed on in Afghanistan in February 2013.”
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