Joey Odoms, a National Guardsman and combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, is resigning from his role as national anthem singer for the Ravens as a result of some NFL fans’ negative response to players’ peaceful protests.
“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,” he wrote on Facebook.
Odoms beat out 49 other hopefuls in a competition to find the Ravens’ new anthem singer in 2014. He is a former Baltimore 911 operator and had two small roles on The Wire.
The Ravens joined in the NFL-wide protest during the anthem before Sunday’s game in London, with Terrell Suggs, Mike Wallace, Ray Lewis and others dropping to a knee.
“The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at the Ravens organization have been nothing but nice to me, however 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 there,” Odoms wrote in an earlier post. “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.
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to grow as a performer and for allowing me to live out a dream of sharing my gift with you.”