On December 21, Baltimore Ravens owner Dick Cass sent an infuriating letter to season ticket holders asking for their support without promising to address the current problems. The Ravens angered many fans when they took a knee to protest during the national anthem on foreign soil in London at the beginning of the season. Things went downhill from there after the behavior was repeated by NFL teams across the nation. Since then the NFL has faced near-empty stadiums and a major drop in audience participation because of the stubborn refusal to side with fans who believe that our nation’s anthem and flag should be respected and that Black Lives Matter politics should be kept out of entertainment.
Cass sent a wishy-washy letter to season pass holders acknowledging that fans are angry, but not proposing to do anything about it. In summary, “Please come back, but screw you, we’re still doing whatever we want.” The text of the letter included a complete denial of reality. “All along, our organization and our players have volunteered to make our community better,” Cass wrote. “That work continues almost daily and, certainly, weekly. We are especially proud of our current players’ commitment to make Baltimore a better place to live and work.”
Of course, it isn’t the football players’ social work in the community that has been called into question by fans.
The letter continued: “We had the poor showing in London, complicated by the kneeling of a dozen players during the National Anthem. That became an emotional and divisive issue. We know that hurt some of you. Others saw it differently and welcomed the dialogue that followed. Others bluntly told us to keep statements and protests out of the game. There are some of you who have stayed away from our games.”
If there were so many fans who welcomed the kneeling protests there wouldn’t be a reason to send a letter trying to get fans to come back, would there? This would have been a good place for an apology. That didn’t happen. “We don’t take your support for granted, and we know that we must continue to earn your respect and investment in us,” Cass explained.
This is the worst non-apology apology ever. If the NFL thinks they can save their brand by refusing to control their players’ behavior on the field while catering to whatever political fad pops up—without listening to their paying fans—they’re doomed. Americans are done taking abuse from franchises they support with their hard-earned money. Recent stadium photos of empty seats prove it.
Ratings are dropping faster than NFL players can rack up felonies. This mealymouthed letter only affirms what American football fans already know: NFL owners, management, and players don’t care about our opinions at all and only care that we send our dollars their way. Time to turn off the tap for good.
The full text of the insulting letter is here for your review.